Primary Maths – Negative Numbers 1

Using specific language to teach the concept of negative numbers Year 4 teacher Josie Clark has taught negative numbers in the past using analogies like bank accounts or thermometers. Some children have been confused or found it difficult to transfer the idea.

Today she’s using very specific language to establish the difference between one and negative one. She extends this language and is getting the children to write carefully on the page to establish the difference between the negative number sign and the act of subtracting.

The mental starter gets the children to practise the new language of ‘negative’ and ‘subtract’. A story establishes that negative is the lack of something, in this case a pile of sand. Children demonstrate, moving cards helps them visualise the actions of adding, subtracting and dividing negative numbers.

In groups, the children successfully divide and the camera dwells on a group that need support to successfully multiply.

Maths adviser Richard Dunne is on hand with hints and tips.

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