Educational Strategies

Math Help Website: 4 Simple Strategies for Understanding Negative Numbers

Welcome to Dangerous Waters
This Article is an Introduction to
Negative Numbers

This lesson is designed to offer math help online for children who are beginning to work with negative numbers.  Negative numbers tend to be a difficult concept for students to understand, because of their abstract nature.  It is easy to see a positive $4.00, but difficult to see a negative $4.00.  Through the process of drawing a number line, plotting points, showing the absolute value, and solving for the distance on a number line between a positive 4 and a negative 4, children develop a concrete understanding of negative numbers.  This will set them up for success as they move into adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing negative numbers.

This Math Help Website is Designed to build a concrete understanding of negative numbers!
All Problems have Math Video Tutorials!
Cyclical Learning Approach

I have incorporated a cyclical learning approach with math tutorial videos.  Each educational concept is introduced, then reinforced, then revisited again and again to ensure success.   Children solve word problems that teach the process of drawing number lines, plotting points, showing the absolute value, and solving for the distance between those two points on a number line.

How to use this Article:
  1. Grab a sheet of Graph Paper, and complete each problem.
    Colored pencils can make the learning a lot more fun.  You can label the positive numbers in blue and the negative numbers in red.
  2. Correct your work, while watching the math tutorial videos.
  3. After correcting your work, take your paper to your parent or teacher for a final check, and to make sure you understand the concepts taught within this article.
I have scaffold these problems:
  1. The first problem is a WORK WITH ME.
    Read the problem then gather all your materials, so you con do the problem with me.
    Play the math tutorial video and pause it when told.
    Copy the problem down on your own paper, and solve it with me.
    When the math tutorial video is complete, review the problem with your parent or your teacher.
  2. All the following problems are ON YOUR OWN.
    Solve the problems just as you did in the first two.
    Once you have completed the problem, watch the math tutorial video.
    Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.
    If you made a mistake, pause the math tutorial video and fix your mistake.
    That’s the fastest way to learn!
    Don’t forget to take your paper to your parent or your teacher for a final review.
Challenge 1 – Watch Me
Alligator Lake

You are standing 5 feet above Alligator Lake.  There are hundreds of alligators in these dangerous waters.  Your friends Triple Dog Dare you to swim 12 feet under the surface of Alligator Lake.  Your only hope of survival is to complete the following correctly:

  1. Draw a number line.  Label your starting point 8 and your end point -18.
  2. Write the absolute value for both your starting point and your end point.
  3. Write two inequalities for your starting point and your end point.
  4. What is the distance between your starting point and your end point?

Now – Press PLAY and watch the math tutorial video below.  Then copy these strategies into your notes.

I like to give a special thanks to the photographers at freeimage.com for allowing me to use their pictures.
Lake photo by Pellinni
Alligator photo by B Smart

 

Challenge 2 – Work with Me
Montana Moose

Montana Moose starts his day taking a cool drink from the dangerous waters of this lake.  The temperature at the lake is 8 degrees Celsius.  In the evening, he runs to the top of the mountains where he looks over the beautiful vista.  The temperature at the mountain top is -18 degrees Celsius.

  1. Draw a number line.  Label the temperature at the lake 8 and the temperature on the mountain top -18.
  2. Write the absolute value for both 8 and -18.
  3. Write two inequalities for 8 and -18.
  4. What is the difference between 8 and -18?

Now – Gather your materials and press PLAY.  We’ll solve this problem together while you watch the math tutorial video below.

I like to give a special thanks to the photographers at freeimage.com for allowing me to use their pictures.
Lake photo by Jack Sanders
alligator photo by Lisa Langell

Challenge 3 – On Your Own
Reginal Ram

Reginal Ram Is up on the tippy top of that mountain hiding in the clouds.  The temperature is a brisk – 22 degrees Celsius.  Needless to say he is cold, so he scrambles down the rocky ridge to these dangerous waters where hungry cougars are always on the lookout for a tasty meal.  Reginal takes a drink of water.  The water temperature is 17 degrees Celsius.  Reginal’s only hope of survival is for you to answer the following correctly.

  1. Draw a number line.  Label the temperature of the lake 17 and the temperature on the mountain top -22.
  2. Write the absolute value for both 17 and -22.
  3. Write two inequalities for 17 and -22.
  4. What is the difference between these two temperatures?

Once you complete the problem – Hit PLAY on the math tutorial video below.  Good Luck!

I like to give a special thanks to the photographers at freeimage.com for allowing me to use their pictures.
Lake photo by Tatjana CH
Ram photo by Bill Sarver

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