Line Segment: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mark Boster
When you go to the grocery store you stand in a line. When you go to a movie, you also stand in a line. At an amusement park, you stand in a lot of lines! But did you know that in math, those aren't really lines at all - they're line segments!

Segments

Leslie and her mother were out fishing one day, and it was time for Leslie to learn to bait her own hook. She thought that worms were ugly and slimy, which they are. But upon closer inspection, Leslie noticed that her worm had lines going around it. She wondered why, so her mother told her that each line divided the worm's work into different segments to help it move.

A segment is just a small part of a bigger thing. On the worm, each segment helps the worm to move. If you open an orange or a grapefruit, you will see that there are different segments in them, too. Food and worms aren't the only things with segments. In math, there is something called a line segment.

Lines and Line Segments

In order to know what a line segment is, you must first know what a line is. In math, a line is straight, doesn't ever end and doesn't have any thickness to it. The line you see on paper only reflects the thickness of a pencil; it's really just a representation of a line.

Sometimes, you wait in line with a family member in order to buy something in the store. But that line doesn't go on forever, so it isn't really a line. It is more like a line segment.

Line Segment (top) Vs. Line (bottom)
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If it were an actual line, it would go one forever in either direction. If you pretend it is a real line, and it does go on forever, then the line segment would be the line of people between you and someone else, like your sister. A line segment is just a part of a line that ends at given points.

Labeling Lines and Segments

Since pages and papers have edges, how can we draw lines on them that go on forever, especially in math? Well, we can draw arrows at the ends of the lines, and put points at the ends of the line segments. Take a look at this diagram of a line and line segment.

A Line (AB) and Line Segment (CD)
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