During one of my recent 20 minutes of math play sessions with my 5 year old daughter, we played around with a number line. A number line is a really abstract thing, and without something to connect it to, it is nearly impossible for a young learner to understand. So we built this fun thing:
The conversation afterward was awesome! She could see that the more legos we had, the longer the line got, which meant we could talk about the value of the numbers.
That got me thinking that maybe we could build one that didn’t use similar sized objects for a number line, to help her understand that a number’s value will still be the same even if the object is a different size. That was when we came up with this one:
All of this building led to talk about sizes of things, grouping things, ordering and reordering, the value of numbers and so much more. It was a ton of fun to make both with the number representations and actual concrete objects!