Negative numbers become an important part of maths in Year 4. Usually the best way to teach it is through practical work such as the use of thermometers when the temperature drops below zero. Whilst temperature is read using the term ‘minus’ it is a good idea to read negative numbers as ‘negative 3’ or ‘negative 5’.
There are 2 ideas at work here. Firstly, understanding the idea of numbers smaller than zero can be tricky. Children might ask how you can have a number smaller than nothing. An overdraft is always a good starting point to explain this! Also the idea that a larger digit can portray a smaller number eg -6 is smaller than -1.
This maths worksheet uses number lines that go from left to right, from a negative number through zero to positive numbers.
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