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Simple Ways to Teach Integers

Simple Ways to Teach Integers
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Integers are the foundational concepts of understanding basic mathematics. Children usually learn the concept of numbers by counting the numbers of objects which helps them associate with the positive integers. However, they often lack the approach to perceive negative integers in the same way. There are many ways to teach children how to relate to integers and their arithmetic operations.

Integers are numbers that can have both positive and negative values. The set of integers comprises the whole numbers, their opposites, and zero. Numbers greater than zero are positive integers, and numbers less than zero are negative. A positive sign (+) or no sign (or no sign) indicates a positive integer value, whereas a negative (–) sign indicates a negative integer value. Zero is neutral.

Understanding the concept of integers addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is important for kids to succeed in algebra. Although gaining the knowledge of a single integer arithmetic operator, such as addition, may seem simple, but it becomes quite confusing to perform integer arithmetic with multiple operators when applied together. So it is a must to provide a lot of practice and thorough learning of rules for each operation to attain perfection in this skill.

Teaching Integers With the Number Line

Visualizing numbers on a number line is one of the most effective ways to teach integers excitingly. Introducing integers through a pictorial representation will also help students in learning faster and better. By drawing a number line on a blackboard or a poster board, you can easily represent both positive and negative integers to students. There are a lot of concepts that students can be taught based on the number-line representation of integers. For instance, By moving forward and backward on the number line, students can learn to perform both integer addition and subtraction.

Integer Multiplication Card Games

Flashcards are an excellent means of teaching integer multiplication to children. Engage students in making some colorful flashcards, divide them into two groups, and give each team an equal number of cards to solve. The team of students that correctly answers all the numbers on their cards wins the game. The students with the correct answers can keep the multiplication card at the end of the game as the winner.

Fun Adding/Subtracting Integers

Teach integer addition and subtraction by using examples. Kids learn better by playing. Provide them some fake dollar bills to role-play and sell small objects. By playing such games, even the knowledge of negative integers can also be delivered through the concept of “owing” money to someone. Kids can understand the negative integers as having a “negative” amount of money that they have to pay.

Using Integer Multiplication to Teach Integer Division

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Image by an_photos from Pixabay

Multiplication is an excellent scaffolding to build the concept of integer division. Help kids to establish the connection between integer multiplication and division. Tell them how integer multiplication and division are inversely related to each other and operate in reverse. When students already have a good understanding of integer multiplication, they can easily learn integer division by linking it.

Practice Worksheets

Help kids to practice the concept of integers by using some interactive math worksheets based on identifying an integer with coloring, sorting, or arranging games or puzzles. Such worksheets will help students to visualize integer concepts easily. The illustrations of integer concepts will also help them apply their learning practically to represent the addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division of integers. One of the platforms providing such interactive worksheets is Cuemath. It offers a range of math games, puzzles, worksheets, and much more for kids to learn integers concepts and their applications.


Learning integers is a very important milestone for every child. It is a significant math concept that implements the pre-algebraic foundation in kids. Getting the hang of the skill of integer arithmetic needs clear understanding and practice through some reliable and effective learning resources. You can also find some interesting games and puzzles online to teach the concept of integers in an interesting way.

Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay