Fractions and Decimals on a Number Line

Since our math curriculum moves at the speed of light, this hands-on gem was from a lesson I did about a month ago (I'm testing on area and perimeter tomorrow.....weeee!!!)

My students were having trouble visualizing a number line, let alone where to place fractions and decimals on one.  (Oh, did I mention they were converting fractions to decimals and vice versa in the process?? FUN!) So, I decided to stop having them draw a dinky "number line" in their notes over and over again, and, instead, I literally hung a number line across the back of my classroom.  Just tied a string from a lamp on one side of the room to the fan switch on the other side of the room.

Because we were learning about fractions and decimals, I put the "given" numbers as 2 allllllll the way to the left side of the line, 2.5 in the middle, and 3 alllll the way to the right side of the line.  Clipped those bad boys with a clothes pin.

Then, I gave each of them a large index card with either a fraction or decimal that fell between 2 and 3 and told them to convert it to the opposite and write it on the back.  After they did that, they hung it on the line where they thought it belonged.

Since we were working with manipulatives to form the fraction/decimal (100's blocks, 10's sticks, hundredths cubes, etc.) I checked their number line from left to right and used the manipulatives to show that with each card, the number of manipulatives I have should increase.

Side note: why is spell check not recognizing "manipulatives"? Is it yet another word that we educators have made up?? I'm talkin' about counters, cubes, M & M's......MANIPULATIVES!

This was a great, (obviously) hands-on activity that involved both individual and group effort.  This could also totally be adapted for primary grades using pictures representing numerals on one side of the card, student has to write the numeral, then place on the line, etc.  DO IT!

ps.....excuse my messy, open cabinet in all the pictures.  it's looking like an open mouth to me now.