Absolute Value


Our Absolute Value lesson plan teaches students about absolute value, including what it is and what the symbols used to designate absolute zero are. Students also learn how the absolute value symbols are interpreted in equations and that absolute values are always positive because they measure distance.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to hand out index cards with problems and then have students place themselves on a number line for their answer or order themselves according to their answer from greatest to least.

Buy Now For $1.95


What our Absolute Value lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Absolute Value defines absolute value, teaches the symbols used to designate absolute zero and how they are interpreted in equations, and explains that absolute values are always positive because they measure distance. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to understand absolute value and how to solve expressions using absolute value bars as grouping symbols. This lesson is for students in 5th grade and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the blue box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The only supplies you will need are decks of cards.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. To add to the lesson activity, you could have students increase the number of rows for the game or add in your own deck of cards with larger numbers.For an additional activity, you could hand out index cards with problems and then have students place themselves on a number line for their answer or order themselves according to their answer from greatest to least. Finally, you can provide challenge questions using fractions or decimals.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Absolute Value

The Absolute Value lesson plan includes two pages of content. All numbers except zero have an absolute value. The symbol for absolute value is two straight lines around the number or expression. For example, |9| = 9 means the absolute value of 9 is 9, and |-8| = 8 means the absolute value of -8 is 8.

It’s important to pay attention to whether the negative is placed inside or outside of the absolute value bars. When it’s inside, the absolute value is positive. When it’s outside, the absolute value is negative.

Absolute value is the distance from zero on a number line. Absolute value is a measure of distance and is therefore always positive. The lesson includes two number lines to illustrate this. The absolute value of 0 is zero, because zero is not positive or negative.

We can also think of the absolute value bars as a grouping symbol, like parenthesis. When we use the order of operations to solve an expression or equation, we solve anything inside absolute value bars before doing any other operation. The lesson includes several examples that illustrate this. The first is: |-6 + 2| = |-4| = 4.

If there is more than one set of absolute value bars, you complete the operations inside the sets of bars before completing any other operations. In the order of operations, the first set is grouping symbols. The lesson includes more examples to illustrate this. In one example, we’re solving the following problem using these steps: |-3 + 1| + |5 + 2| = |-4| + |7| = 4 + 7 = 11.

The lesson closes with a few more examples to help students practice using these concepts.


The Absolute Value lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will complete the lesson activity in groups. To play the game, each player gets two cards, one face up and one down. All the students at the table can see the face up cards. Black cards are positive while red cards are negative. Each player can get additional cards by asking them to “hit me”. They can have up to four cards each and must use all of them. For each round, the person with the total closest to zero wins that round.

At the end of the game, students will take the absolute value of their “total” column for each hand and will add them together. The person closest to zero in the absolute value column wins the game.


The practice worksheet asks students to complete two short exercises. For the first, they will find the absolute value of different numbers. For the second, they will simplify expressions, showing their work.


For the homework assignment, students will match nine problems to their correct answers. They will then either find the absolute value or simplify each equation.


This lesson also includes a quiz that you can use to test students’ understanding of the lesson material. For the quiz, students will find the absolute value of six numbers and will then simplify six expressions, showing their work.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet, the homework assignment, and the quiz. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


5th Grade, 6th Grade



State Educational Standards


Customer Reviews
5.0 Based on 8 Reviews
5 ★
4 ★
3 ★
2 ★
1 ★
Write a Review

Thank you for submitting a review!

Your input is very much appreciated. Share it with your friends so they can enjoy it too!

Filter Reviews:
Carolyn K.


Great resources!

Debi G.

Absolute Value

It was great and my granddaughter loved it and the videos help reinforces that lessons.

Susanna F.

Absolute Value

Love this! Great lesson plan, very helpful and easy to use!

Michael C.

The Lessons are top notch

I am able to use the lessons in my classroom. They are well written and easy to follow.

Rolando U.

Absolute Value

Awesome... Made it easy for my students to understand absolute value.