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Topic: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Replies: 70   Last Post: Dec 8, 2012 1:28 PM

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Peter Duveen

Posts: 163
From: New York
Registered: 4/11/12
Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Posted: Nov 27, 2012 10:12 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

I have a new student, who was confused about negative numbers, both multiplication and division of the same. I wanted to demonstrate to him that a negative times a negative is a positive, but got flustered because I could not produce the demonstration. I promised to show him the demonstration at our next weekly meeting.

Later, I sat down and derived the following demonstration:

Proof that the multiplication of two negative numbers is a positive number: - 1 + 1 = 0 (Definition of -1); -1(-1 + 1) = 0 (0 times any number is 0); -1x-1 + -1x1 = 0 (distributive law of multiplication); -1x-1 + -1 = 0 (1 x any number is that number itself); -1x-1 = 1 (definition of -1; the same quantity added to equal quantities produce equal quantities).

Main point is, it is not particularly self-evident that a negative number times a negative number yields a positive number. Some will undoubtedly argue that to demonstrate this property rather than to just state it will confuse the student. At the same time, I would argue that to not demonstrate it will confuse the student.

I'm just throwing this out for discussion, but other properties that ought to be demonstrated are that 1/-a = -(1/a), another property that many may feel does not need to be demonstrated. On the contrary, I believe that not demonstrating it will lead to confusion.


Date Subject Author
11/27/12
Read Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Peter Duveen
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
James Elander
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Peter Duveen
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/27/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
GS Chandy
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
GS Chandy
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Peter Duveen
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
kirby urner
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Peter Duveen
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
syeds
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
GS Chandy
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Paul A. Tanner III
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
kirby urner
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Paul A. Tanner III
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Jonathan Crabtree
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/28/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Peter Duveen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Peter Duveen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Peter Duveen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Jonathan Crabtree
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Jonathan Crabtree
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/29/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Jonathan Crabtree
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
12/1/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Clyde Greeno
12/1/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
11/30/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Jonathan Crabtree
12/1/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
12/1/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Robert Hansen
12/8/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers > a MACS syllabus
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
12/1/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Joe Niederberger
12/2/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers
Jonathan Crabtree
12/2/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers > Wallis/Pycior
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
12/3/12
Read Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers > Wallis/Pycior
Robert Hansen

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