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Introduction to negative numbers

  • Year group: Year 5
  • Term: Autumn
  • Topic: Negative numbers
  • Duration: 1 weeks
  • Keystage: KS2
  • Age Range: 9 to 10 yrs
  • Unit can be taught out of sequence: N
  • Week Range: 2b - 3a

In this chapter, pupils interpret negative numbers in context and count both forwards and backwards with positive and negative numbers.

Building on their learning from the previous chapter, pupils count forwards and backwards from positive and negative whole numbers. They solve problems that require them to count through 0, as well as ones that do not.

The majority of problems that pupils meet are given in the form of a real-life context. They are expected to interpret negative numbers within these contexts. Take temperature, for example. They may explore temperatures below 0 by working through questions such as “If the temperature in a city decreases by 8°C, what is the new temperature?”.

 Download all negative numbers chapters as a PDF 

Resources for this topic

White Rose Maths

Negative numbers

This selection of resources cover counting backwards and forwards in negative numbers to problem solving with negative numbers.
By WRMaths

Negative numbers

Direct link to our Y5 scheme.
By WRMaths

Mathematics Mastery

Introduction to negative numbers

Mathematical discussion is a key element of the Mathematics Mastery programme.

Talk Tasks are a brilliant way of enabling pupils to develop their mathematical language, thinking, understanding and confidence.

This activity explores the concept of negative numbers.

• Talk tasks are best completed in mixed attainment pairs, with pupils taking turns to listen and construct arguments
• Emphasis is on discussion rather than the solution, encouraging pupils to use key language and talk in full sentences
• Ask pupils to prove their answers in a variety of ways, using the CPA approach to support mathematical understanding and number sense

Like what you see? Mathematics Mastery is a professional development programme for teachers with a mission to transform mathematics education in the UK.

This task is just a taster of the complete classroom resources we offer. We also provide in-depth development training, online CPD, specialist support and assessment tools.

We believe all elements of our programme are vital in creating lasting change – enabling every child to enjoy and succeed in mathematics.

Want to find out more? Check out our free resources and blogs or join an information session.
By Mathematics Mastery

Introduction to negative numbers

Select ‘View more’ for an accompanying video.

Enabling teachers to continuously develop their practice is a key element of the Mathematics Mastery Programme.

This CPD video provides step-by-step guidance on introduction to negative numbers.

Our videos aim to:

• Model teaching tips, techniques and clarify how to make connections between concrete, pictorial and abstract representations
• Support the teaching of different methods and concepts, rather than focusing on one method only
• Enhance subject knowledge and support non-specialists

Like what you see?

Mathematics Mastery is a professional development programme for teachers with a mission to transform mathematics education in the UK.

This task is just a taster of the complete classroom resources we offer. We also provide in-depth development training, online CPD, specialist support and assessment tools.

We believe all elements of our programme are vital in creating lasting change – enabling every child to enjoy and succeed in mathematics.

Want to find out more? Check out our free resources and blogs or join an information session.

By Mathematics Mastery

Resources shared by teachers

Addition and Subtraction with Negative Numbers

A PowerPoint visual explaining the effects of adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers. The flag points to number you start at then depending which team has more people the flag will move - its all animated. Includes Questions and Answers.
There is also an extension, students must fill in the missing sign to make the sum correct. Answers provided.
By Jammin93

Reading scales on a thermometer (negative numbers)

Full lesson plan, IWB file, success criteria and fully editable worksheets. The worksheets are differentiated four ways going from a 2 degree interval scale going down to -10, up to a 5 degree interval scale going down to -25 degrees. Good for continuing with negative numbers, reading scales accurately etc. Includes extension activity at the bottom for ch to complete scales.
By littlest4r

Difference in Temperatures Problem Solving Activity

Activity using clues about temperatures in British cities to label a map with 12 cities and their respective temperatures. Clues are in a random order so they could be cut up into cards if that helps, the solution shows the order to tackle them, so they could be re-ordered for weaker students. The map labels either contain a city name or temperature and the learner writes the missing information in as they go, except the last city, which has both pieces of information missing. The map allows some cross-curricular links with Geography (markers on map are my educated guess) and there is obviously a link with Literacy. This is suitable for individuals/pairs/groups and can be printed 1 or 2 to a page.
By Maths Tiger