June 20, 2016

DIY Beaded Number Lines

I'm so excited to be linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It of the summer! I'm a HUGE procrastinator so having a Monday dead line really helps ensure I actually get some things crossed off of my to-do list! 

math tool, guided math, beaded number line, math,

This week I am most excited about my beaded number lines. What are beaded number lines you ask? They are a fabulous tool used for counting, skip counting, adding (composing), subtracting(decomposing), rounding, place value (groups of tens and ones) and so much more. 

I first learned about this tool when Dr. Nicki Newton came to my school district and presented to the math specialists. Sadly, I wasn't invited :( 

number line, math tool, DIY, guided math,

I chose to make 6 beaded number lines so that I could use them with my small groups. If I was still teaching first grade, I may go ahead and make a whole class set... My math specialist said the kids could make them but I am too type A for that on summer vacation. My kids did help me make them but I made sure they counted after each set of 10 to ensure they had the proper amount of beads. I don't want my math tools to confuse any children! 

math, guided math, beaded number line, math tool

  • To make the number lines I used 2 packages of pony beads {2 different colors}
  • Para cord (though you could use shoelaces or lanyard) Be sure you don't get anything too thick.
  • Small jump rings (for storage purposes)

Step 1: tie a double knot at the bottom of a 2-yard piece of string. I used paracord because it was inexpensive and in the same isle as the pony beads at Hobby Lobby #winning. Shoelaces work well because they are easy to thread the bead onto but they are more costly. I put a small piece of scotch tape on the end where I was adding the beads since the cord frayed a bit where it had been cut.

Step 2: alternate adding sets of 10 beads. I put 100 beads on each string but the first grade teachers on my campus may choose to use 120 since they will be using this as a counting tool. 

Step 3: double knot the top end of the string to a jump ring. This way you can hang all the number lines on a command hook for easy, tangle free storage! 

That's it! Easy peasy. My kids were mad I only needed six number lines. They each made 3 in about 20 minutes. 

Using a Beaded Number Line from Karen Richardson on Vimeo.

I also made my first video tutorial and several new TpT products.

I created and posted this 65 page editable Back to School presentation. I also finally got around to updating and listing this "Thanks for popping in" labels. 

Thanks for stopping by today! Please comment below to let me know if you ever heard of a beaded number line.  Do you think it could be useful in your classroom? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. What a neat idea! I bet it was therapeutic making the number lines! I will have to share this with my first grade friends at my school!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. It was kind of fun making them.. I may end up making more. I am actually headed back to teach 3rd grade and plan to use these for teaching skip counting (multiples) for beginning multiplication, place value and partial products!

  2. I have never heard of a beaded number line but love it! I bet they are so effective with the kids! Thanks for linking up:)

  3. Great idea for a tutorial! Love the colors of the Powerpoint!

  4. What size paracord is recommended?? 2mm? 4mm?

    1. The thinnest one possible. However, I really recommend using shoelaces because they already have that plastic piece on the end so it doesn't fray! Live and learn!!