Subtracting Integers – Practice Problems

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Subtracting integers is not difficult, if you follow one easy rule. Integers are positive and negative whole numbers including zero, such as -5, -2, 0, 3, 9, and so on.

To find the difference of integers, or of positve and negative numbers, think of subtraction another way: instead of taking away a number, you can add the opposite. Opposite numbers have the same distance from zero, or also called 'absolute value.' On the number line, you can see that -2 and 2 have the same distance from zero. Therefore 2 and -2 are opposite numbers. Opposite numbers are always numbers that look similar apart from the positive or negative sign.

So if you have to subtract a negative number from a positive number, simply think of it as adding the opposite, positive number. This concept helps you figuring out the solution even without using the number line or your calculator. The same concept works for adding integers, especially for negative numbers: instead of adding a negative number to a positive number, just subtract the opposite, positive number.

This video shows you how to subtract integers involving something you possible know from your childhood: a see-saw. This will help you understand the concept behind the rule, so you will remember it for the rest of your math career. This video also includes a more complex example, but don't worry: you will be guided step by step through the example and you might discover that the rule makes it much easier than you thought.

Apply and extend previous understandings of numbers to the system of rational numbers.

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Exercises in this Practice Problem
Find the integer that brings the seesaw back into balance.
Describe how to solve the equation $-2 - (-4) -3$.
Calculate the temperature change by subtracting integers.
Evaluate John's final score by adding and subtracting integers.
Identify the correct statements regarding subtracting integers.
Identify the equivalent expressions.