Integers are our counting numbers or natural numbers including zero and their negative mates on the other side of the zero on the number line. Integers do not include fractions and decimals. In other words, they are whole numbers and their opposites. If I ask you to count to one hundred, you are naming integers. You don’t include 3.4 or 5 ½.

Ex. …. -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … The opposite of 2 is -2. The opposite of -3 is 3. Why is the zero red? I’m glad you asked. Zero has no opposite. Oh, now you remember! Okay.

**Let’s meet the Sign family.**

Two members: Positive and Negative

They are always competing against one another.

Positive is made of two dashes that resemble a cross. Negative resembles a single dash

They are both small but powerful.

**Pictures of the family:**

Positive +

Negative -

Sometimes Positive (+) is confused with another relative Plus Sign (+) and Negative (-) is confused with the relative Subtraction. Don’t they look like twins.

**How Can You Tell the Difference?**

You can tell the difference by how they are used. Plus Sign combines quantities or put quantities together. Thus, you end up with a larger quantity. As far as the number line is concerned, you move towards the right. The action of Plus Sign is referred to as addition.

Positive (+) indicates what side of the number line the number resides. Positive numbers are found on the right side of the number line. The numbers get larger as you move right on the number line and the value gets larger.

On the opposite side of the number line, the LEFT side, the opposite occurs. The numbers get larger but the value gets smaller. These numbers are referred to as negative.

Negative (-) indicates what side of the number line the number resides. Negative numbers are on the left side of the number line.

You would find out later, but I can tell you now. Zero is neither positive nor negative.

*Here’s a family secret about Positives and Negatives:*

On the right side of the number line, numbers behave themselves and act the way you expect. 10 is truly larger than 4. However when those same numbers go on the other side, they just go left. In other words, their behavior is totally opposite of what’s right. Like I said, you expect 10 to be larger than 4. Yet when 10 and 4 start hanging on the left side of the zero, they get tattooed with negative signs and things change.

They look like this:

Now, -4 is larger than -10, and they are no longer called Ten and Four; we must refer to them as Negative Ten and Negative Four. This pattern holds true into infinity on the left side of the family.

On the right side of the number line, numbers behave themselves and act the way you expect. 10 is truly larger than 4. However when those same numbers go on the other side, they just go left. In other words, their behavior is totally opposite of what’s right. Like I said, you expect 10 to be larger than 4. Yet when 10 and 4 start hanging on the left side of the zero, they get tattooed with negative signs and things change.

They look like this:

**-10**and**-4**Now, -4 is larger than -10, and they are no longer called Ten and Four; we must refer to them as Negative Ten and Negative Four. This pattern holds true into infinity on the left side of the family.