Salutations! I'm Charlie from the U.S. content team, and I've been pleased to see our content on integer and rational number operations getting some love and attention this year. I've seen how struggles with negative numbers can sidetrack learners from succeeding in algebra and later courses, but also how understanding negatives can really open up a student's flexibility to rewrite expressions in a way that works well for them. So please let me share some highlights from the revised units.
- Have you ever had a student look at -4-7 and decide it's 11, reasoning that "two negatives make a positive"? We have built out more conceptual materials to help your learners grasp the meanings of operations with negative numbers instead of memorizing ambiguous rules. Using integer chips and number lines, your students will discover patterns with integers, then move on to operating fluently.
- Your students will supercharge their commuting and associating by rewriting subtraction as addition of the opposite. We took this often hidden step, and we made it visible for learners. Now strategies like collecting like terms can make sense, instead of seeming to break the old rules about when we can commute and group numbers.
- We added interactive articles for some of the challenging questions that arise when students start using negative numbers. Why is the product of two negative numbers positive? What happens to order of operations when we throw absolute value and negation into the mix? These articles give your students low stakes opportunities to make sense of extending the operations they already know to negative rational numbers.
We hope these resources will help your students progress through sense-making to fluency as they stretch to include negatives in their concept of a number.
Grace and peace,