The Positives and Negatives of Integers

Jill Smith, Math teacher, Carmel Middle School

(Abstract PDF)

(Unit PDF)              


The Positives and Negatives of Integers is a unit based on operations involving integers with a clear focus on adding and subtracting. Operations involving rational numbers are a large goal for seventh grade students as stated in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

My students have always struggled with this topic. I have found different strategies that help the students identify with the operations on a concrete level which will help them to eventually move to more abstract thinking. My unit focuses on teaching adding and subtracting integers to students through different models and strategies. Some of the strategies used in this unit include integer chips, heaps and holes and the Singapore Math Model Method. I have also developed variations of some of the strategies to help introduce this topic to all types of students. KENKEN® puzzles are introduced in this unit as a way for students to use their problem-solving skills and strategies along with their knowledge of operations with integers. These puzzles are a fun way for students to apply their knowledge of operations with integers. The students will actually create their own KENKEN® puzzle using negative and positive numbers and share it with the class at the end of the unit.