Pre Algebra Negative Numbers
Math-Prof HOME Arithmetic Table of Contents Ask A Question PREV NEXT

Ride the Elevator
Negative Numbers

 
 Negative numbers are weird. 
 I like to think of positive and negative numbers
 like the floors of a great big building with lots of basement levels ...
 

 
 Now think about adding and subtracting like elevator rides in that building:
 
 1) The first number is the floor where you start.
 
 2) The sign that comes after the first number 
     says which way the elevator goes.
     + means it goes up, - means it goes down.
 
 3) The second number is how many floors you move.
 

Example

3 - 5

 

 

 

 So:    3 - 5 = - 2

 
 Example
 

- 3 - 2

 

 

 

 So:   - 3 - 2 = - 5

 
 Example
 

  - 2 + 5

 

 

 

 So:   - 2 + 5 = 3

 

   copyright 2005 Bruce Kirkpatrick

Math-Prof HOME Arithmetic Table of Contents Ask A Question PREV NEXT