Negative numbers

Learning focus

Learn about negative numbers and how they can be identified.

This includes:

  • a catch-up quiz
  • a learning summary
  • two videos
  • one practice activity


To get started, let's see how well you know this topic already. Take the catch-up quiz below to find out.


When you count backwards from zero, you count in negative numbers, for example -1, -2 and so on.

Negative numbers are commonly used when talking about temperatures. One of the coldest temperatures recorded in Antarctica is -93.2℃!

Watch this animation from KS2 Maths to find out more.

What are positive and negative numbers?

Any number above zero is a positive number. Positive numbers are written with no sign or a + sign in front of them and they are counted up from zero to the right on a number line.

Any number below zero is a negative number. Negative numbers are always written with a - sign in front of them and they are counted down from zero to the left on a number line.

Always look at the sign in front of a number to see if it is positive or negative.

Zero, 0, is neither positive nor negative.

Let ‘The Posh Pooch’ from BBC Supermovers explain negative numbers in an entertaining way, with this song and movement routine made for KS2 pupils.


Activity 1

Now you’ve got to grips with negative numbers, time to have a go at the first activity! Put the numbers in the simple-sort activity into the correct order.


Play Guardians: Defenders of Mathematica to learn more and sharpen your skills on this topic.

Guardians: Defenders of Mathematica

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources.

More Maths Lessons
More from Bitesize
KS2 Maths
Primary games