Number lines - how to use them and why they're important

Number lines - how to use them and why they're important

Children make a natural progression from counting to basic addition - but there's a key moment along the way. It comes when they realise they don't have to count all the way from one each time.

Komodo Number line

Take the above example - children start out by counting on fingers from one to three, then they count four more to get seven. There's nothing wrong with this method - it's a natural stage - but there's a bit of needless counting going on.

Soon they'll realise this and start at three and the count on to seven. Number lines are a great way to accelerate this development.

Number lines provide a mental strategy for addition and subtraction. It's easy to think of them as a kind of crutch for the struggling, but not so. Research has shown they're important because they promote good mental arithmetic strategies.

Learners soon graduate from using simple number lines to visualising one in their mind - this is when the humble number line has done its job!


We encourage using number lines in Komodo:



This video shows how number lines help older learners with addition and subtractions beyond ten.

I'm Ged, Co-founder of Komodo, ex-maths teacher and dad. If you have any questions please get in touch.

About KomodoKomodo is a fun and effective way to to boost primary maths skills. Designed for 5 to 11 year olds to use in the home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning maths (15 minutes, three to five times per week) that fits into the busy routine. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in maths - without keeping them at the screen for long.

Find out more about Komodo and how it helps thousands of children each year do better at maths - you can even try Komodo for free.

Related Posts

Help Your Child Learn: Telling the Time (Part 1)

Learning to tell the time can be difficult for children as it's a new concept that's not like anything else they've encountered in maths to date. This new resource features an interactive clock to practice skills and guides parents step by step through helping your child learn how to tell the time.

How to make a practice clock for learning to tell the time

Making a clock out of household objects is a great way to help your child learn about telling the time. Apart from being a great crafting activity that can while away some time on a rainy afternoon, placing and spacing numbers on the clock themselves is a really important learning objective.