What are positive and negative numbers?

Number line showing negative and positive 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.

Positive numbers get higher the further we move right, so 5 is more than 2. Negative numbers get lower the further we move left, so -5 is less than -2.

Which word, 'higher' or 'lower', would fit correctly in each of these gaps?

a) {-7} is ......... than {-1}

b) {+62} is ......... than {-71}

c) {-136} is ......... than {-36}

a) {-7} is lower than {-1}

b) {+62} is higher than {-71}

c) {-136} is lower than {-36}


Now test what you've learnt about negative numbers in the activity below.