Apply Number Lines - Demonstrating Application of the Number Lines in Fraction Instruction

Educator understands what number lines are and when/how to use them in fraction instruction.
Made by Friday Institute @ NC State
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator recognizes how number lines support student understanding of fractions, and understands when to effectively incorporate them as a tool in their instructional practice.

Method Components

How can using number lines improve instructional practice focused on fractions?

Number lines are a key instructional tool for supporting students in understanding fractions as numbers and understanding the iteration of unit fractions to form a whole. This representation of fractions affords the use of multiple student strategies that educators can use to connect to the construct of fractions as a measure, develop understanding of the magnitude of numbers, and build student intuition around specific fraction concepts.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Carpenter, Thomas., Fennell, Francis., Geary, David., Lewis, James., Okamoto, Yukari., Siegler, Robert., Thompson, Laurie., Wray, Jonathan. “Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten through 8th Grade. IES Practice Guide. NCEE 2010-4039”. What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences, September 2010,
  • Bright, George W. et al. “Identifying Fractions on Number Lines”. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 19.3 (1988): 215–232. Web,


  • Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten Through 8th Grade, Recommendation 2

    This writing is an excerpt taken from the IES Guide, Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten Through 8th Grade. This excerpt covers the second recommendation, pages 19-25.

  • Number Lines: A Key Representational Tool
  • Author: Yukari Okamoto, Univ of California, Santa Barbara
    Source: Doing What Works Library at WestEd

    One of the authors of the Practice Guide on Developing Effective Fractions Instruction describes the misconceptions that students may have about fractions and how to help them understand fractions’ place in the number system. She demonstrates instructional approaches with number lines and number strips to expand beyond the part-whole approach to teaching fractions, emphasizing the importance of students understanding that a fraction is a number, not two separate integers. She also shows how the number line can be used to help students understand equivalent fractions and operations with fractions. There is a summary and a transcript with time markers available.

  • Recognizing Fractions as Numbers
  • Source: Doing What Works Library at WestEd

    This multimedia overview explains why measurement and number line activities are recommended to teach students about fractions and help them understand fractions as numbers, relationships between fractions, and fractions applied to measurement. The presentation demonstrates many uses of number lines, including teaching students about the relationship between integers and fractions, mixed numbers, equivalent fractions, and comparing fractions. There is a summary and transcript with time markers available.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a “Yes” for parts 1 and 2. Through any of a variety of methods (written, scanned, audio, video, and/or multimedia), you must demonstrate an understanding of what number lines are and how they can be used to support fraction instruction and student understanding. You must also effectively reflect on how number lines apply to your instruction.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • What is a number line and how might you use it within the context of your instruction?
  • How do number lines support student understanding of fractions?

Part 2. Evidence/Artifacts

Reflect on a time when you taught fractions in the past and how using number lines would have been useful for supporting your students’ understanding. Provide an insightful reflection that demonstrates your understanding of the potential for the use of number lines in improving your instructional practice using the rubric below as a guide. Please submit one or more artifacts (such as writing, scanned documents, images, video, audio, etc.) for your reflection.

(Your artifact submission will be assessed based on the following rubric. You must earn a “Yes” score on this portion of the total submission in order to earn the micro-credential.)

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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