Subtracting Integers 02:29 minutes

Video Transcript

Transcript Subtracting Integers

Have you ever tried to balance a seesaw? I will explain to you what this has to do with subtracting integers. How can we bring this seesaw into balance?

We need to put a value here, on the right side, to get it in balance. In this case, a positive 3 balances the seesaw. We can write this as an addition: + 3. Let us go back to the first situation. Can you imagine another way to bring this seesaw in balance? Right!

Subtracting a Negative Number – Example 1

Another way is to take something away on the left side. In this case, negative 3 can be taken away from the left side. We can express this mathematically as minus a negative 3. As you can see the seesaw is in balance again, which is the same as in the situation before. Taking negative 3 away equals adding positive 3. Remember: Subtracting a number equals the same as adding the opposite. So, subtracting a negative 3 is the same as adding a positive 3.

Subtracting a Negative Number – Example 2

Now let's look at a different example. Find the value of negative 2 minus negative 4 minus 3. Instead of minus 3 you can also write minus positive 3. You have learned that subtracting a number equals the same as adding the opposite number. In our example minus negative four becomes plus positive four and instead of minus positive three you can write plus negative three. Ok, let's calculate from left to right: −2 + 4 = 2 and 2 + −3 = −1.

You have learned that subtracting a negative number is the same as adding the opposite number. But might this knowledge help our little friend in his situation? Maybe...