This lesson serves as an introduction to adding and subtracting integers by connecting the math to ideas that are easily understood by all students. The lesson addresses Common Core State Standard 7.NS Standard 1 as students extend their previous understandings of addition and subtraction and represent these operations on a "happiness rating scale". While originally designed for a special needs math classroom, this lesson can be used with any middle school level math student as an introduction to adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers and lends itself easily to differentiation. The lesson includes "The Road to Happiness Game" where students can practice the skills while playing a fun game. If you would like your students to internalize ideas such as "Why does subtracting a negative number actually increase the value you started with?" then this lesson is for you.
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