## Negative Numbers: Tips and Tricks

- Draw a large number line and put it in a prominent place in the room for students to refer to throughout the unit.
- Students may not have used a number line in a while, so it may be a good idea to have them do some operations with positive numbers first to refresh their memories.
- Have the students make their own number lines to use when ordering negative numbers and when doing operations with negative numbers.
- Whenever possible, provide real-world models of negative numbers, such as taking steps forward or back.
- Students often become confused with the terms
*minus,**negative,*and*opposite.**Minus*refers to the operation of subtraction.*Negative*is the sign of a number. The expression 5 − (^{-}2) should be read as “5 minus negative 2.”*Opposite*is used to refer to the number that has the opposite sign. Hence,^{-}2 is the opposite of^{+}2, and^{+}7 is the opposite of^{-}7. - Students should justify their answers for operations with negative numbers by drawing a number line and indicating movement on it with arrows.
- Give students a positive number or negative number and ask them to give you two numbers, one positive and one negative, whose sum is the given number. For example, given the number
^{-}3, those two numbers could be^{-}8 and^{+}5. Do the same for subtraction.