Negative Numbers | Primary Maths | KS2 Maths Resources

What are negative numbers?

When we have done subtraction in the past we have always done “smallest from the biggest”, like 7-4=3. But what would happen if we were to do 4-7? What happens if we start counting back in 1s 7 times?

We get stopped at 0, there’s nowhere else to go!… Until we bring in negative numbers.

So negative number look the same as normal number, but with a “-“ in front of them and go in the other direction!

But why are we looking at these, why are they important?

To learn more about how we get negative numbers and how to interpret them, click here. (

To learn more about counting backwards past zero, click here. (

One neat trick for understanding how we get negative numbers when we subtract is to swap the numbers around.

What is 7-5?


Nice and easy, but how about 5-7?


Notice how swapping the numbers makes the answer negative! To learn more about this neat trick and intervals across zero, click here. (

Important: Negative numbers are always smaller than positive numbers.

-8 is smaller than 3!!!!

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Times Table Flash Cards

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