Number Lines and Estimation Lesson Plan: Battleship Numberline Game

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-12, students use BrainPOP resources to explore mathematical concepts such as estimation, whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Students will use interactive game play to understand relationships between numbers and estimate positions on a number line.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Use a number line to explore mathematical concepts (whole numbers, decimals, and/or fractions)
  2. Estimate positions on a number line
  3. Understand the magnitude, or relative size, of numbers


  • LCD projector or interactive whiteboard
  • Large number line on wall or board
  • Internet access for BrainPOP and Battleship Numberline


whole numbers; decimals; fractions; tenths; hundreths; thousandths; decimal units; units place; repeating decimals; terminating decimals; rational numbers; irrational numbers; numerator; denominator


This game can be used to teach and reinforce whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and measurement. You can adapt this lesson plan for each concept, and use it multiple times throughout the year as you cover various math skills.

The Battleship Numberline game is extremely versatile, and can be used as both a teaching tool and independent skill reinforcement. By projecting the game onto an interactive whiteboard, you can model mathematical thinking and address student misconceptions. Then have students play on their own or with partners for fun and meaningful hands-on practice. Check out Numbaland's Teacher's Game Guide for additional support.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Show students a number line on the classroom wall or projected onto your interactive whiteboard. Talk with the class about the purpose of number lines. How are they useful? What kind of problems can they be used to solve? Can anyone think of a problem for the class to solve using the number line?
  2. Project the Battleship Numberline game for the class to see. We recommend that you initially model with the game Whole Numbers 1-10 or 1-100, as these are the simplest games. This is especially important if your students have not had much practice using a number line or need a review of that skill.
  3. Play one round of "Enter Coordinates" with the class to model game play. Explain that the number line in the game is invisible, and students must envision it in their minds to find the correct coordinate. Think aloud as you model so that students can hear your reasoning and understand the strategies and logic needed.
  4. Next, play a quick round of "Enter Coordinates" for the same skill. Model one or two problems yourself, then have students take turns coming up to the whiteboard and entering their guesses. Ask questions to facilitate discussion: How did you make your prediction? How did you know where the ship would be? If your prediction was incorrect, what information did you use to make your next prediction?
  5. Tell students that at the end of class, they will have a chance to play the game themselves, only they will get to play a more challenging version of it: fractions, decimals, or measurement (depending on your target skill.)
  6. Use BrainPOP resources to reinforce what the class has learned about the target math skill. Play the Decimals or Rational and Irrational Numbers movie, or another topic from the Numbers and Operations unit.
  7. If desired, show the review quiz for the movie and take it together as a class. This is a great way to address student misconceptions and make sure all students have the background knowledge needed to be successful in independent practice. You can divide the class into teams and have them discuss their answers, and/or have them show their answers using sign language or hand signals (1 finger=A, 2 fingers=B, and so on.)
  8. Pull up the target skill game (decimals, fractions, or measurement) in Battleship Numberline, and select "Mix". This will combine "Enter Coordinates" and "Locate Ship" practice. Model game play yourself or have student volunteers do so. Facilitate discuss as needed about strategy.
  9. Allow students to play the game independently or with partners. Encourage them to keep track of their score and see if they improve with each round of game play.
  10. Bring the class back together for a whole group discussion and/or written reflection. What was most challenging about the game? What do students wish they knew at the beginning of game play that they know now? If they were to play the game again, what would they do differently? How do number lines help them understand the math concept?

Extension Activity:

Be sure to check out the other Math Games featured in GameUp!

Downloadable Game Guide:

Battleship Numberline Game Guide.pdf

BrainPOP Movies:

Rational and Irrational Numbers