Negative numbers are simply numbers that have a value less than 0. That is, their position on the number line is to the *left* of zero. This is expressed visually on the graphic below.
As you can see, everything to the left of 0 is in the red, which is a negative number. Everything to the right, in blue, is a positive number.
The further to the left you go, the *higher* the **absolute value** becomes. The absolute value, used most simply, is the value of the number without the negative sign. Meaning the absolute value of -4 is 4. However,the further left you go down the number line, the lower** value** of the number. This means that -4 is "bigger" than -5 (bigger meaning it has a greater value.) However, the absolute value of -4 is "smaller" than -5 (smaller meaning a lesser value.)
**Practice:**
Which number has a greater value? Which number has a greater absolute value?
1. -10 and -1
2. -5 and -2.5
3. 1/2 and -2.
4. 3 and -3.
5. 0 and -2
As you probably already know, once you get the hang of these, they are really quite simple! But just what is an "**absolute value**?" Let's say that on Friday, you had $5. The absolute value of the amount of money you had is 5. It just so happens that, since you had the money, the 5 was a positive value. On Saturday, you saw something you wanted at a store and it cost $15. Luckily, you have a very nice friend that loaned you $10. So now, you have -10 dollars. But your total amount that you have (or in this case, *don't* have), is 10.
**Answers** to the above practice:
1. Greater Value: -1, Greater Absolute Value: -10.
2. Greater Value: -2.5, Greater Absolute Value: -5.
3. Greater Value: 1/2, Greater Absolute Value: -2
4. Greater Value: 3, Greater Absolute Value: They are equal!
5. Greater Value: 0, Greater Absolute Value: -2.
We've got the basics down, get ready to learn to Add and Subtract Negative Numbers! |