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Teaching Multiplying with Negative Numbers

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Mr_Mathematics, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics Occasional commenter

    Hi,

    I've written a new blog for teaching how to multiply with negative numbers so students have a conceptual understanding. Might be a but controversial if the reaction among my colleagues at work is anything to go by.

    Check it out here.

    Comments would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Jonathan
     
  2. Math-Worksheets-Galore

    Math-Worksheets-Galore Occasional commenter

    Keep up the great work Jonathan - I will be following your progress ...
     
  3. colinbillett

    colinbillett Occasional commenter

    The difficulty with dealing with directed numbers is often that we try to give concrete meaning to such abstract concepts. So we hope the learners will make sense of it, even though there might not be 'sense' to be made of it. Why should adding three lots of negative two be negative six, when so much of mathematics is meaningless to so many learners. I gave up teaching the concept when I came to the awareness that the results are simply part of the patterns, consistency and logic of relationships between and within numbers. So I simply ask the learners to produce that patterns, note what happens, and use it for the future. https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/positive-and-negative-numbers-6207986
     
  4. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics Occasional commenter

    Hi Colin
    Thanks for your post. I agree with you about always looking for patterns in maths and using them to find easier ways of doing things. When I teach multiplying with negatives in this way that is exactly what I am hoping to achieve. I want students to pick up on the product of a negative and positive is always negative and the product of two negatives are always positive. Hence the task for the most able in this lesson is to generalise what happens when raising negative numbers to a odd or even power.

    My hope is that by picking up on these generalisations themselves without me telling it to them they are more likely to become authors of their own mathematics.

    Thanks
    Jonathan
     
    colinbillett likes this.

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