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FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT TASK
Instructions for Implementing the Task
This task can be implemented individually, with small groups, or with the whole class.
 The teacher asks the student to complete the problem on the Visualizing Absolute Value worksheet.
 The teacher asks followup questions, as needed.
TASK RUBRIC
Getting Started 
Misconception/Error The student does not demonstrate an understanding of absolute value as the distance from zero on a number line. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student does not describe absolute value as distance from zero on a number line. The student:
 Explains how to plot the decimal number 11.2 with no reference to absolute value.
 Plots 11.2 on a number line with no explanation that references absolute value.
 States that absolute value is a number without a decimal.
 Interprets absolute value as the opposite of the number.
 Interprets absolute value as making a number positive (with no reference to a number line).
 States that the unknown number is located at zero.

Questions Eliciting Thinking What does absolute value mean?
What does your graph indicate about the unknown number?
How would you define absolute value?
What does absolute value mean in terms of a number line? 
Instructional Implications Review the concept of absolute value as distance from zero on a number line. Give the student a nonzero absolute value (e.g., 12) and ask the student to identify both numbers with that given absolute value,  ?  = 12. Have the student graph the two numbers (e.g., 12 and 12) on a number line and compare the results. Guide the student to observe that opposite values have the same absolute value. Model writing the absolute value of a number as two distinct values (rather than using the “plus or minus” notation). For example, write 4 = 4 or 4. Provide additional opportunities to identify the absolute value of a number or to identify all numbers with a given absolute value.
Be sure the student understands the distinction between absolute value and opposites. Assist the student in observing that the absolute value of a number is either equal to the number itself or equal to its opposite. Guide the student to understand when each is the case. 
Making Progress 
Misconception/Error The student does not recognize that a number with a given absolute value could be positive or negative. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student explains absolute value as the distance from zero on a number line. The student identifies 11.2 but not 11.2 as a number with an absolute value of 11.2. 
Questions Eliciting Thinking Is there any other number with an absolute value of 11.2?
If you are walking along a number line and travel 11.2 miles, where might you end up? 
Instructional Implications Review the meaning of absolute value in terms of a number line and remind the student that there are typically two numbers on the number line that are the same distance from zero. Provide the student with a number line representation of two numbers with the same absolute value. Describe the relationship between the two numbers as opposites. Model writing the absolute value of a number as two distinct values (rather than using the “plus or minus” notation). For example, write 4 = 4 or 4. Challenge the student to identify the only number whose absolute value is given by just one value (i.e., zero). Provide additional opportunities to identify the absolute value of a number or identify all numbers with a given absolute value. 
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 states that the unknown number could be 11.2 or 11.2 because they both have a distance of 11.2 from zero on a number line.

Questions Eliciting Thinking Is it possible to identify the sign of a number from its absolute value? Why or why not? 
Instructional Implications Introduce the student to an algebraic definition of absolute value (i.e., define n as equal to n when n = 0 but equal to –n when n < 0). Ask the student to compare positive and negative rational numbers as well as their absolute values.
Guide the student to distinguish between comparisons of directions and comparisons of magnitude (i.e., absolute value) of pairs of numbers given in context. For example, suppose the mass given by scale A is 2.3 grams under the actual mass of a volume of water, which is represented as 2.3. The mass given by scale B is 4.1 grams over the actual mass of the same volume of water, which is represented as 4.1. The signs of these numbers indicate whether the estimates were over or under the actual mass but since 2.3 < 4.1, it appears that scale A is more accurate.
Consider implementing MFAS task Absolute Altitudes (6.NS.3.7). 
ACCOMMODATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Special Materials Needed:
 Visualizing Absolute Value worksheet
SOURCE AND ACCESS INFORMATION
Contributed by:
MFAS FCRSTEM
Name of Author/Source: MFAS FCRSTEM
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Okaloosa
Is this Resource freely Available? Yes
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.