Graphing Positive and Negative Numbers

Lesson Activity Plan Template
Title of Activity:
Graphing Positive and Negative Numbers
Grade Level:
Mathematics Concept Standards:
State of Alaska, Math Performance Standards (Grade Level Expectations), Grade 5
G-8 locating points of given coordinates on a grid or identifying coordinates for a given
point (e.g., items on a treasure map) (L) (M5.2.6)
PS-1 selecting and applying an appropriate strategy (e.g., tables, charts, lists, or
graphs; guess and check; extended patterns; making a model) to solve a variety of
problems and verify the results (M7.2.2)
S&P-1 [designing an investigation and collecting L], organizing, or displaying, using
appropriate scale, data in real-world problems (e.g., social studies, friends, or school),
using bar graphs, tables, charts, diagrams, or line graphs with whole numbers up to 50
(M6.2.1 & M6.2.2)
S&P-2 using information from a variety of displays (tables, bar graphs, line graphs, or
Venn diagrams) (M6.2.2)
Extension Activities:
S&P-3 using mode, median, or range with up to 10 pieces of data with a value of 10
or less each (M6.2.3)
Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to create a number line using both positive and negative numbers.
Students will be able to put numbers in order on a line graph.
Students will be able to use a variety of information and data to graph it on a number
Students will be able to examine the difference between different numbers on a number
Math and Literature Connection:
Less Than Zero by Stuart J. Murphy
Illustrations by Frank Remkiewicz
Learn the Content:
After covering the basics on number lines and graph through your Math Expressions
Lessons, then read the Story Less Than Zero by Stuart J. Murphy.
Discuss vocabulary terms and concepts and have students write down these terms in
their math vocabulary journal. These terms could possibly include: Number line,
Negative Integers, Coordinate graphing, Line Graph, and Quadrants.
Reinforce the Content Learning:
After discussing vocabulary terms and writing them in their journals, have the
students write a definition and draw a picture to go along
with the
description. A typical journal entry would look like the
Line Graph – A graph that uses a line to show changes in
After illustrating and describing all of the vocabulary, then pass out graph paper to
all of your students. Explain to students that they will be trying to duplicate the
graph that the character, Perry, in the story drew to keep track of his clams.
Explain or review with them how to draw a vertical number line with labels for each
new day represented. Remind them how they will be graphing the information that
is to come.
After all of the students have the basic number line drawn with both positive and
negative numbers represented, then reread the story and have students graph the
information. Make sure you do NOT share the pictures on this read through.
Consolidate the Learning:
After you have finished rereading, then have students trade their papers with their
shoulder partner to compare, make notes, and make changes. Give them about 3 to
5 minutes to accomplish this task. The teacher should be circulating throughout the
classroom at this point to make suggestions and corrections.
Next, walk the students through the correct process of graphing the stories
information. This may require having the teacher or a student reread the
information and you graph the information as a class. Students will be able to make
corrections to their personal graphs when finished.
In order to insure that students understand the concept of graphing positive and
negative numbers on a number line graph, bring out new numbers for students to
graph. Change the units from clams to dollars or another item in the room and have
students keep track. At this point, it can be fun to have students help you make
up your own savings story.
Implement the Content:
Students will create another number line and label several days on their graph, and
then begin by choosing a unit like shells or rocks to represent the money. Model the
possible beginning of the story, and then take turns asking students to make up a
part of the story for each day of a week. For instance: On Sunday, Freddy the Frog
decided he needed to buy a new Lilly Pad for himself. In order to buy his Lilly pad,
he needed to have a total of 25 rocks to pay Bull Frog, the local Lilly Pad store
owner. He started by working for his mom by taking out all of the trash in the
house and doing the dishes for 5 rocks. (At this point students would graph 5 rocks
on their graph). Then, call on a student to describe a possible scenario for Monday,
Tuesday, and etc. until you get several days worth of data. Students will be
graphing in between each new part of the story.
Once you have several days worth of information, then have students get into small
groups or partners and trade their papers to compare, make notes, and make
changes. Give them about 3 to 5 minutes to accomplish this task. The teacher
should be circulating throughout the classroom at this point to make suggestions and
At the end, the teacher will share his or her correct representation of the
information and make suggestions.
Variation/Extension Activities:
Record the story and later transcribe it, so that you can make a class book for later
Have the students draw a number line on a plan sheet of graph paper. Pass out
M&Ms, Skittles or other small candies to each student. Make up a story and have
the students graph the information using the candy instead of drawing it. Then,
they can eat the candy at the end of the lesson.
Create your own check book registers, by making a copy of a blank register and
enlarging the lines. Then, keep an ongoing register over several days with pretend
money. At the end of a certain period of time, ask students to show you the
ending balance. You can offer a prize for the students who have legible and correct
data for the duration of the time. (My prizes generally consist of a piece of candy
or homework passes.)
Extension Lessons 1-4 on Negative Numbers, pgs, 1167-1193, Math Expressions Teacher’s
Web Resources:
Additional Lesson plan on Less Than Zero:
Lesson Plan Created By:
Lisa Trotter
June 10, 2011
Lesson Related References:
Murphy, Stuart J., Less Than Zero
Math Expressions
State of Alaska, Math Performance Standards (Grade Level Expectations), Grade 5