This hands-on math experience is meant to give students a concrete learning opportunity to master adding integers. Students will use their fingers to graph addition of positive and negative integers. By following the directions, students will gain hands-on understanding of why adding a positive number results in a greater sum, while adding a negative number results in a lesser sum. Discussion questions will further students’ understanding by connecting absolute value to integer addition.
This experience works well in the first lesson on adding integers, as it offers the foundational knowledge necessary to understand later work with contextual problems. The hands-on experience could be done in as little as 20 minutes. Alternatively, this experience could serve as the practice portion of a lesson.