Numbers greater than zero are normally shown without a sign. The number written as 5 has the same value as +5.
Negative numbers are numbers that are less than zero, and are shown with a minus sign. A number line, showing the position of numbers from -10 to +10, is shown below:
The numbers on the left hand end of the scale are the smaller numbers. Working from left to right, numbers increase in value. -5 is larger than -8 because -5 is further to the right on the number line. Similarly, 2 is larger than -4.
1. Which is the larger number, -6 or -2?
Using the number line, -2 is further to the right.
2. Three cities recorded their average temperatures over winter. In London, it was 3ºC, in Edinburgh it was -2ºC, and in Leeds it was -5ºC. Which city had the lowest average temperature?
Of all the numbers, -5 is the furthest to the left, and therefore has the lowest value.