Getting Started 
Misconception/Error The student is unable to describe quantities represented by positive and negative decimals in context. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student:
 Only uses the words “negative” and “positive” to describe the given numbers.
 Reverses the positive and negative contexts (e.g., using “got cash back” for #1 and “what you pay” for #2).
 Writes out the decimal number in word form (e.g., “negative twentythree dollars and fiftysix cents”) rather than putting it into context.
 Does not understand the meaning of the decimal notation and attempts to describe it (e.g., as “breaking apart the number $23.56 into “23 negative 56 positive”).

Questions Eliciting Thinking Why did you write “negative” (or “positive”)? What does a negative (positive) amount of money mean? What does it mean to have money in a checking account?
What do you mean by “got cash back”? Does that add money to the account or take it away?
Why did you write “23 negative 56 positive”? Why did you break the number apart? What do the dollar sign and decimal mean? How would you read this number: $23.56? 
Instructional Implications Provide direct instruction on decimal notation and the use of decimal notation in representing quantities of money.
Expose the student to a variety of realworld situations in which rational numbers are used to represent quantities such as bank account balances, temperature and temperature change, elevator movement, and altitude. Discuss how to represent quantities in the context of problems. Also, ask the student to describe a quantity that can be represented by given rational numbers. 
Making Progress 
Misconception/Error The student interprets the value of the balance as an amount of change to the balance. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student confuses the value of the balance of the checkbook with the amount the balance changes due to transactions. The student describes:
The negative or positive balance as:
 That’s how much money has been taken out of (or added to) the account.
 That’s how much you have to pay.
The balance of $0 as:
 You don’t pay anything (as opposed to “there is no money in the account”).
 You have a gain of nothing and a loss of nothing.
 Nothing was added or subtracted.
 You put none in.
 There is no money put in or taken out.

Questions Eliciting Thinking What do you mean by, “You don’t pay anything”? Who might you be making a payment to? How would you know if you have money in your checking account to pay someone?
What do you mean by, “You have a gain of nothing and a loss of nothing”? If you have no gain or loss to your checking account, does that mean you have nothing in it? If you start with $100 but do not gain or lose, how much money is in the account? 
Instructional Implications Expose the student to a variety of realworld situations in which integers (or positive and negative rational numbers) can be used to describe both quantities and changes in quantities. Help the student understand the distinction between using integers to describe a bank balance and using integers to describe a change to the account such as a credit or debit. Challenge the student to find additional examples of the use of integers in the real world and to describe the way in which the integers are used.
Consider implementing MFAS tasks Relative Integers (6.NS.3.5) and Relative Fractions (6.NS.3.5). 
Got It 
Misconception/Error The student provides complete and correct responses to all components of the task. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student says that a balance of $23.56 means that you owe (or overdrew) $23.56, a balance of $142.41 means that you have $142.41 in your account, and a balance of zero dollars means you have no money in your account.

Questions Eliciting Thinking Is it possible for a person to have in their hand “negative money”? What may have happened to cause a checkbook to have “negative money”?
What is the difference between a balance of $50 and a change to the account of $50? 
Instructional Implications Give the student more experience using rational numbers to represent quantities and interpret the meaning of rational numbers including zero, using a variety of contexts. Guide the student to use a number line to represent positive and negative rational numbers and changes to rational quantities.
Introduce the concept of opposites and have the student use a number line to graph pairs of opposite values.
Engage the student in a discussion of the different ways that the minus or negative symbol is used in mathematics. Encourage the student to interpret expressions such as –n as meaning “the opposite of n.” 