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Q&A #6501


Context stories to explain negative numbers

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From: Claudia (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 13, 2001 at 15:27:43
Subject: Re: Context stories to explain negative numbers

Here are a couple of ideas........ I have something I created for work with integers. I use copier transparencies and make a master of smiley and frowny faces. When you explain to the children that a positive and a negative make a zero it is hard for some to VISUALIZE it. But when the smile is placed on the frown, they form a 0 zero! For lack of drawing here to give you an idea the positive looks like + + and the negative - - smile frown For example -2 + -4 = ? Have the students place two frownie faces in their work space. Then since ADD means to add pieces to the work space, they place 4 more frownie faces. How many faces in all? 6 but they are all negative so -2 + -4 = -6 Example: -2 + 4 = ? Begin again with the two frownie faces, add 4 smiley faces. What happens to 1 frownie and 1 smiley, they are placed on top of each other to become a zero....this happens to the other +, - pair...so the workspace has two zeros, and +2 (two smiley faces) left....so the answer is +2. ********* There is also a story to tell about the Good Guys (+) and the Bad Guys (-). Coming to town is good for the town so that = +. Leaving town is bad = -. When the Good Guys (+) come to town (+) the town is very happy ...so (+)(+)= (+) When the Good Guys (+) leave town (-) the town is sad (+)(-) = (-) When the Bad Guys (-) come to town (+) the town is sad (-)(+) = (-) When the Bad Guys (-) leave town (-) the town is happy (-)(-) = (+) -Claudia, for the T2T service

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