In Maths, different types of numbers such as whole numbers, integers, decimals, fractions, rational or irrational numbers can be plotted on a number line. Through this article, you will learn some basics of a number line.

What Do You Mean by Number Line?

A number line in mathematics is a pictorial representation of numbers on a straight line drawn either horizontally or vertically. The number line acts as a reference for comparing and ordering the numbers. It becomes easy to compare and perform different arithmetic operations on the number written down on a number line. The vertically or horizontally drawn number line can be used to represent any real number including any whole number and natural number. A number line is divided into three parts- negative, zero, and positive side.

How Can a Number Line Be Drawn?

A number line can be drawn by plotting the numbers in the below-given sequence:

Step 1: Draw a vertical or horizontal straight line with arrows on both ends.

Step 2: Now is the time to determine the scale that depends on the given number. For instance, if you have to plot 6, then it is better to choose the scale of 1. But if you have to plot 60, then you can go with a scale of 5, 10, or 15.

Step 3: Remember to always mark the points at equal gaps. For instance, if you have chosen to go with the scale of 1, then you should mark the points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on.

Step 4: This is the last step when drawing a number line. It is the time to locate the given number and highlight the specific number with the help of a circle.

Representing Negative and Positive Numbers on a Number Line:

Both positive and negative numbers can be plotted on a number line. Zero is marked in the middle of a number line. The part of the number line to the left side of zero is used to represent negative numbers and thus, is known as the negative number line. The part of the number line to the right side of zero is used to represent positive numbers and thus, is known as the positive number line. The number line from both ends can be extended to infinity. Following are some basic properties of negative and positive number lines:

  • Numbers plotted on the right side of a number line are greater than numbers plotted on the left side.
  • 0 is plotted in the middle of a number line and thus, is known as the point of the origin.
  • Both negative and positive numbers on a number line are plotted at equal intervals.

Representing Decimals on a Number Line:

Not only positive or negative integers but also decimal numbers can be plotted on a number line such as 3.6. By following the below-given steps, we can plot decimals on a number line:

Step 1: First, whichever decimal number is given, identify its whole part. Here, in the given number 3.6, the whole part has one digit, i.e. 3.

Step 2: Now, a number line is drawn and two points with a suitable gap are marked on it. 2.6 lie between 3 and 4, so mark 3 and 4 on the equal gap.

Step 3: Identify the tenth place of the mentioned number. In 3.6, the tenth place digit is 6. Draw 10 equal intervals between 3 and 4, and mark 3.6 on the sixth bar to the right of 3.

Bottom Line

To plot numbers on the number line one needs to be aware of number names. Cuemath is an online education platform providing live lectures featuring all concepts of math easily and understandably.