Zoomable Number Line

This little gadget on Mathisfun.com is so illuminating for teaching decimals. I always get a positive response from students when I show it.

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I think it can be used it in a number of ways:

  1. Predict what happens when I zoom in. As you zoom in, first the tick marks appear and then at the next level of zoom, numbers start appearing.  It’s a great way of “bridging” from the familiar to the new.  A number line is likely to be a familiar concept.  However, what is “in between” 0 and 1? An intentionally ambiguous question. Students are likely to say “half” or 0.5.  How else can we show half? What other numbers are in between 0 and 1?
  2. Why are there 10 ticks between 0 and 1? We have divided 1 into 10 equal parts, what is each part.  How else can we represent 1/10?

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From there we “zoom” into the next level of hundredths

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This table might be useful as some practice to relate fractions to decimals.  I would love to hear some comments on this.

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