Dagenham Road, Romford, Essex, RM7 0TL

020 8270 4940


Rush Green Primary School


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Rush Green Primary School

Using Number Lines


Number lines are introduced to the children in Reception and are a fundamental part of teaching addition in Year 1. Initially, children will be given number lines marked 0-20.  When given an addition problem, the child identifies the first number in the sum and finds it on their number line. The child will then identify how many they need to add and will 'jump' along the line that number.


A common problem is that the children count the numbers, rather than the jumps they have to make. For example, in the calculation 4 + 3, the child might start at 4 and count the numbers 4, 5 then 6, when in fact they should have begun counting from 5.


The children will usually use their finger to point at the numbers, but some prefer to use their pencil or to use counters and other mathematical objects. Sometimes, to try and make the learning more engaging for our students, they may be given the opportunity to move themselves along the number lines in the playground and around the school.




In this short clip, Drayton in Year 1 is being introduced to using a number line to add and subtract 1 to a given number. First, he identifies his starting number:  7. He then has to decide which direction to move along the number line and counts 1 jump to get his answer of 8.






Blank Number Lines