Objective: This activity is designed to help students understand that the absolute value of a number is the distance between two points, whether the points are negative or positive. The work is done using the coordinate plane to allow students to work with horizontal and vertical number lines at the same time.
This activity will take about 10-20 minutes depending upon the ability level of your students.
Instructions: Students will plot lines on a coordinate plane using colored pencils (for fun), write expressions using absolute value to find the difference and then calculate the distance between the points. Only horizontal and vertical lines are included as this activity is geared toward 6th - 8th grade students. There is also a short writing activity included to have students analyze their work and the procedure they used.
As an extension, the students can then create another worksheet with coordinates of their choice. Students can solve these problems or have another student solve the problems. Clear examples are provided each step of the way. Knowing how or learning how to subtract integers is a useful skill for this product.
This activity is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Math: 6.NS.6, 6.NS.8 and 7.NS.1. It can also be used as a pre-activity for algebra lessons on using the slope formula, using the Pythagorean Theorem on the coordinate plane, using the distance formula, etc.
PARCC 6th grade practice
It is also aligned with the following Mathematical Practices:
MP.4 - Model with mathematics
MP.6 - Attend to precision
MP.7 - Look for and make use of structure
MP.8 - Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
This work by Ann Marie VanSickle
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License