It really doesn't seem to matter whether a student is in 7th grade or in 12th grade, integer operations are always tricky. When I taught 11th grade Algebra 2 in Boston, working with negative integers was a major sticking point when we'd be solving equations. Students would get all the way to the end of a difficult equation... and get the wrong answer. Why? Adding and subtracting integers from both sides. Here is a video explanation for how the manipulative works. Please excuse the cartoons in the background. Bonus points if you know what cartoon my daughter is watching:)

This post on integer operations has more information or, if you have an hour or so to spare, here is my thesis with data showing the tool works to help fix misconceptions, even in high school students.

If you find that your students are struggling with integer operations, this integer operations manipulative is available for download. I like to laminate it so that students can use dry erase markers. This helps some students keep an accurate count of the spaces between numbers.

For a fun integer operations activity, you may like this integers pennant. Students evaluate three problems on each pennant. The three problems are related to keep the focus on those pesky signs. You can find this integer operations manipulative in this Integers mini-bundle for learning and practicing integers.

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