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Number line with negative numbers: A printable worksheet

Negative numbers can be tricky for children to understand at first, this is where a visual number line comes in handy. For this activity we’re focusing on some negative number challenges with the additional help of a number line.

Use the printable negative number line to introduce pupils to the concept of numbers below zero. 


A negative and positive numbers exercise

Download our free resource and share it with your class, see which groups or individuals can answer the most sums on the sheet. Take a look at the preview to our three-tiered activity, and click the button below to download this worksheet.


Activity 1: Number line -5 to 5

Everyone starts with Activity 1, where the range of numbers are just 10 apart. As with all of these activities, pupils who excel should first cover up the dotted line and attempt to answer the sums. Once that has been mastered, they can move onto the next activity.



Activity 2: Number line -10 to 10

Ramp up the difficulty in Activity 2, which doubles the range of numbers for pupils to tackle.



Activity 3: Number line -20 to 20

Now it’s getting tough! For those high flyers who had no problem with Activity 1 or 2, the third tier of difficulty has a number line that stretches back to -20 and up to 20. 



What is a negative number line?

Number lines are one of the most popular ways to assist younger pupils with number sequences, the relationship between numbers next to one another and the difference between counting forwards and backwards. Negative number lines introduce numbers less than zero. 


How to use a negative number line in the classroom

Negative numbers are typically a difficult concept to initially get your head around. The perfect aid for years 1 and 2 is the number, providing a simple way to count step-by-step without relying on doing it in your head.

Use the printable worksheet’s sums to develop your pupil’s mental maths. With practise, they will soon be able to make these calculations in their head without the use of the number line.


Where do negative numbers occur in real life?

Ultimately, negative number knowledge is needed in real life scenarios. Reading a temperature gauge, understanding negative bank balances, and using a lift to a reach an underground floor; these are just a few real world examples of negative numbers.


<a href="" target="_self">Talitha McLachlan</a>

Talitha McLachlan

Hope Education writer

Talitha worked as a primary and secondary teacher for 9 years before turning her hand to writing. She is passionate about effective education of children and supporting teachers to do this. In her free time, Talitha enjoys sewing, films, and spending time with her two cats.

12 October 2020

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