Date: Nov 27, 2012 5:20 PM
Author: Peter Duveen
Subject: Re: Some important demonstrations on negative numbers

Bob, I usually give similar demonstrations for exponents. That is, I begin with the self-evident properties of exponents, and then use them and extend them to interpret negative exponents, fractional exponents, raising to the zero power, and raising to the first power, all of which are, in my opinion, not self evident. I'm not so interested in conventions as I am the demonstration of the properties of exponents extended to all reals, and ways to interpret unfamiliar concepts in terms of the familiar.