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Three Grade 5 children participated in a microgenetic study embedded in 12-week teaching experiment on integer addition and subtraction. They solved open number sentences in four individual sessions across the 12-weeks and produced drawings. Through the lens of learner-generated drawings and qualitative analysis, these drawings provide perspective into the children’s thinking about integer addition and subtraction. The following categories are described: Single and Double Set of Objects, Number Sequences, Empty Number Lines, Number Lines, Number Sentences, Sign Emphasis, and Answer in Box Only. One student drew sets of objects frequently and the other students drew number lines more. Descriptions of how use of their drawings changed over time are provided. Implications point to a re-examination of integer instructional models and insight into potential learning progressions.


Originally published in Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Volume 53, March 2019, Pages 105-128.