For my state, integers are taught in the seventh grade. For students, this is their first exposure to negatives. I am looking for other ways to teach this concept.
What have you found to be the most successful method? Reply as a comment to this post with a description or link to what you use in your classroom to teach Integers.
Integers: Methods I currently use
Addition & Subtraction:
I start integer rules with understanding negatives and positives in terms of colored counters and really focusing on zero pairs. I use the counters as a discovery activity and see if the students can come up with rules based on their observations with the counters. In our class discussion, we agree on “same sign, add, and keep that sign; different signs, subtract, take the sign of the number with the larger absolute value”.
I teach them to break the expression into terms by drawing a line which ends up helping out when simplifying and combining like terms. The operation sign will go behind the line with the number behind it.
Then I have them label each term in the expression with “N” for negative and “P” for positive, and perform the operation, addition or subtraction, determined by the signs.
If the problem is subtracting a negative, then we see a “broken addition” assign for that number.
Multiplication & Division:
I use a method I found on the internet – sleepy man. It is a peace sign with two negatives in the top two areas and an addition sign in the bottom area of the peace sign. This method can also be found here. The peace sign can be used with their fingers or shade with a pencil, colored pencil, highlighters, etc. There is a triangular version of this as well.
So far, this is the only method I have used, but I have found that students want to use the peace sign with addition and subtraction as well. To combat this, I found the Mickey Mouse picture.
Integers: Methods I have used
I have used the “keep, change, change” method that is all over the Internet. Keep the original number, change the operation to its inverse, and then change the second number to its opposite.
I have and still employ some of these same methods discussed in this teacher’s video. Students can relate to money and scores.
A few years ago, I came across this ebook (see below) specifically sections 2.1-2.3. What are your thoughts on this content?
Integers: Online Resources
Integers: Activities I created for my classroom
Once we move out of the integers unit, I want my students to develop integer fluency. I created Integer Speed Drills and use them daily as at the beginning of class. I purchased aquarium gems and glass jars from the Dollar Tree. Students in each class decorate the jars for each class period. The drills are timed with 30 problems. Students who earn 30 out of 30 earn a gem to place in the jar. When the jar is full the first time, we have a class party with pizza and snacks; I provide the pizza. Any additional times they fill the jar, we have game day with card games and board games.
I have included a short video below of a few of the Integer Addition speed drill slides with a timing of 4 seconds per problem for you to have some idea of how to use the drills in your classroom. I start the year timed at 6 seconds, and our goal is to develop Integer fluency and complete the drills at 3 seconds.
Other products I have created for my students are below. Click on the image for a direct link to the product in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
“So much practice for so little money. Worth the money. Let’s master them.” – Catherine W. 11-28-2016
“My students have used these throughout the year for practice & review. Thanks” – Debra B. 3-20-2016
“Love these flashcards! I use them for my 7th graders all the way up to my juniors as exit tickets. Great product!” – Virginia S. 3-15-2016
“Students really enjoyed these flashcards. Perfect even when you have just a little bit of time to fill!” – Kimberly B. 12-04-2015
“These cards are great for round the room scavenger hunts.” – No Name 8-22-2017
“Worked great as a review station.” – No Name 01-23-2016
“Love this! I printed it off touse with my intervention students for them to practice these skills. I am also thinking I will use it with my regular students because practice never hurts”. – Staci E 10-18-2015
“My students really liked these. They hated getting so close to the end, but then turning the other direction. I think it is hilarious to watch them work on these mazes.” – Danielle L. 9-25-2016
“Great resource! My students love mazes because they are kind of able to check their work as they go. Thanks!” – Brittney J. 8-2-2016
“Nice to having something different to offer for practice.” – No Name 2-20-2016
“My students really appreciate practicing with something other than the typical worksheets. Thanks!” – Kitsie W. 8-17-2015
Integer Resources on Amazon
Purchase your own red and yellow counters
Do It Yourself:
Make your own using this circle punch and red/yellow bulletin board paper.
Laminate red bulletin board paper to the backside of yellow bulletin board paper. Use the circle punch to cut out circles that have yellow on one side and red on the other side.
FAVORITE!! Paper trimmer for my interactive notebook sheets. Safe and quick!