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Activity and strategy

Developing Number Sense and Using Number Line

This math lesson focuses on developing number sense and using a number line with students who are blind or visually impaired.

By Chelsea Hale

Student will represent whole numbers as lengths from 0 on a number line diagram with equally spaced points corresponding to the numbers 0, 1, 2, …, and represent whole-number sums and differences within 100 on a number line diagram.

  1. Students can work on developing number sense by using flash cards that have large colored circles on them, rather than simply memorizing the problem.  The flash cards from Abeka are large and high in contrast, and are appropriate for many students with low vision.
  2. When the class is using the interactive SMART Board, students with low vision can use an iPad with the “Join Me” app, a white board with a black marker, enlarged workbooks, and interactive iPad applications as needed. 
  3. If students have difficulty drawing models, they can be provided with supplemental materials such as tape diagrams that are drawn out, number bond outlines, an iPad application to set up problems on graph paper, interactive SMART and board diagrams.  
Hundreds, tens, ones chart
Conceptual models can be manipulated on the SMART Board. The classroom teacher may try the following: 
  • Limit visual clutter in SMART Board Lessons 
  • Create interactive SMART board lessons and share in Dropbox, so they can be manipulated on an iPad. The district’s technology specialist may be able to help to set this up. 
  • Create outlines for number bonds, tape diagrams, vertical problem set-up, and Hundreds, Tens, and Ones charts (HTO). This may be helpful so that students don’t have to draw diagrams. 
  • Different colors can be used for the circles on the H, T & Os chart. 
  • A graphing iPad application can be used to set up problems in a vertical format. 


In order for a student who has a visual impairment to be successful in a general education math class, the team needs to collaborate.  Every person has something to bring to the table and adaptations with technology, colors, clutter limitations, and diagrams can be implemented by several team members.  
The ECC could be further incorporated into instruction. Daily living skills could be addressed through real life word problems. Students could have the opportunity to use various measuring tools, such as rulers and measuring cups. In third grade, fractions are addressed and real life items and word problems could be used to build concept knowledge. 

Domain Math:

Measurement & Data

Math Standard:

2.MD.B.5 – Relate addition and subtraction to length. – Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve word problems involving lengths that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as drawings of rulers) and equations with a symbol …

Other Foundational Skills:

  •     Number sense
  •     Math fluency
tick-tack-toe game made of felt.

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