NC: Use negative numbers in context and calculate intervals across zero.

Negative numbers are useful to understand for real life situations, like the temperature outside, money and distances. Count the ‘steps’ between numbers to find their difference. Number lines are very useful to help understand how far away from zero you are!

Example: Which has the smallest value? -8 or -2?

The further away from zero the negative number is, the smaller it is.

-8 is further away from 0 than -2 so -8 is smaller.

Example: Which is correct? -9 > 5 or 6 > -8

5 is a positive value so it is bigger than -9.

6 is a positive value so it is bigger than -8.

So, 6 > -8 is correct.

Example: What is the difference between 4 and -3?

There are 7 ‘steps’ between 4 and -3 so the difference is 7.

Back to: Maths > Number and Place Value

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