February 2023 - It’s Cold. Let’s Talk About Integers

Any one of the numbers …, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, …. Integers are the entire set of whole numbers and their opposites (negative numbers).

Although not formally introduced until grade 6, children are exposed to positive and negative numbers in their everyday lives, even at a young age.  The winter months offer lots of possibilities to help children understand integers as the temperatures often dip below 0. This provides great opportunities to discuss negative numbers in a context that is meaningful and relevant during everyday routines like getting ready for school.  

You can have children start thinking logically about integers by asking questions like: 

If yesterday was -4 and today is a little bit colder, what could the temperature be today?  

Is -10 colder or warmer than -2?

What is the temperature today?  Is it above 0 or below 0?


Celebrating the Many Global Contributions to Mathematics

Throughout human history, people from many cultures and societies have contributed to the continuously developing understanding of math.  As a part of each monthly newsletter, one of these many significant contributions will be shared in celebration of how diverse ways of knowing have shaped our mathematics today.

Did you know that although the first mention of negative numbers was in China about 2200 years ago and about 1400 years ago in India, as recently as 300 years ago some mathematicians claimed that negative numbers didn’t exist?  

Negative numbers are used today for a variety of applications including temperatures, borrowing and lending, and within sports.