# Number Line

**Writing numbers down on a Number Line makes it easy to tell
which numbers are bigger or smaller.**

## The Number Line

Negative Numbers (-) | Positive Numbers (+) |

(The line continues left and right forever.) |

Numbers on the left are smaller than numbers on the right. |

Examples:

**5**is smaller than**8****−1**is smaller than**1****−8**is smaller than**−5**

Try this interactive number line (click to mark):

You can also try the zoomable number line.

## An Example

Example: John owes $3, Virginia owes $5 but Alex doesn't owe anything, in fact he has $3 in his pocket. Place these people on the number line to find who is poorest and who is richest.

**Having money** in your pocket is **positive**.

But **owing money** is **negative**.

So John has "−3", Virginia "−5" and Alex "+3"

Now it is easy to see that Virginia is poorer than John (−5 is less than −3) and John is poorer than Alex (−3 is smaller than 3), and Alex is, of course, the richest!

## Using The Number Line

Read How to Use the Number Line to Add and Subtract.

## Absolute Value

Absolute Value means to think only about **how far** a number is from zero.

For example "6" is 6 away from zero, but "−6" is **also** 6 away from zero.

So the absolute value of 6 is 6, and the absolute value of −6 is also 6