I, * Deb Bowers*, middle and high school teacher, hated math as a student.

We were told as elementary students to memorize our math facts, though we were given numberlines on our desks. Math did not come naturally to me; but I succeeded by realizing with the use of the numberline that math was basically about patterns. In college, I had a professor who made trigonometry simple. It was then that I decided that * I could actually teach math! * I quickly discovered that there was a problem with how we teach adding and subtracting.

Students are told to memorize **THE RULES**: change everything to addition and add. The problem with this is that we confuse the students with the **exceptions to THE RULES**: -3+5 isn’t really adding, it’s subtracting; two negatives make a positive in multiplication, but not in addition.

**Every year, I encounter students making incorrect statements:**

-3 – 5 = 8 because two negatives make a positive

-3 – 5 = 2 because you have to subtract, but two negatives make a positive

– 3 + 5 = -8 because you add, but they’re different signs so it’s negative

**Or,**

– 3 – 5 says minus, but you add. – 3 + 5 says add, but you subtract. “Ah!” said one student, “I get it! You just do the opposite!”

**It’s no wonder they’re confused!**

- Algebra Tiles are good but can be too abstract.

- The Rules can be too confusing.

- “Drill and Kill” is frustrating and boring.

**Math needs to be simple and concrete.**

** Having the students dance on the numberline HELPS! **They actually experience seeing positives and negatives as left and right on the numberline. Can you go below 0? Of course!

* Putting music to the numberline makes math interesting and fun! *As students use the numberline, they will find the patterns themselves and make that numbersense their own. They will enjoy using creativity to make music and math questions of their own.

* My musical background helped me to realize how much math and music go together!* How can we incorporate music into math to make it more fun?

**The Musical Math Numberline!**