Operation Review: Amazing Addition

Contributor: Briana Pincherri. Lesson ID: 11201

What's so amazing about addition? 2 + 2 = 4, right? Add some negative signs to the numbers, then see what you get. What if they are mixed up, positive and negative? Videos and games add up to AMAZING!



learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Do you feel confident solving 2 + 2?

Chances are 2 + 2 is one of the first addition problems you learned.

  • But is 2 + 2 the same as –2 + -2?
  • What about –2 + 2?
  • How do those signs affect things in addition?

This lesson is a reminder of just that.

Every single day, we have the opportunity to add things together.

Whether you are trying to decide the total amount of something you have, or how many of something you need, chances are that addition is involved. Because of this, it is a skill we are generally pretty good at!

However, the one area we often need to review is dealing with positive and negative sign rules.

This lesson focuses on positive and negative sign rules, so by the end you can declare that you are AMAZING at all types of ADDITION.

Let's get started!

Sign Rules for Addition

positive + positive = positive (add numbers, keep sign positive)

negative + negative = negative (just add the numbers, bring along the negative sign)

negative + positive = ? (ignore the signs and SUBTRACT the numbers [largest - smallest] and keep the sign of the "bigger" number)

Let's take a look at some specific examples.

positive + positive

Add the numbers, and keep them positive.

  • 2 + 2 = 4
  • 3 + 10 = 13
  • 4 + 8 = 12

negative + negative

Add the numbers, and keep them negative.

  • -2 + -10 = -12
  • -8 + -3 = -11
  • -5 + -2 = -7

different signs (negative + positive or positive + negative)

These problems take just a little bit of extra work but really aren't too bad. They actually end up just becoming subtraction problems!

Here are the rules.

  1. If given different signs when adding, you want to first ignore the signs altogether. (Sounds silly I know, but it works, I promise!)
  1. Subtract the larger number minus the smaller number, and write the answer.
  1. Decide what sign your answer should be by looking at the sign of the larger number in the original problem. If it was originally positive, your answer will be positive. If it was originally negative, the answer will be negative.
  • 12 + -5 = 7
  • -10 + 2 = -8

Take a few minutes to watch the video below for plenty of examples showing these steps.

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  • What were two addition rules demonstrated in the video?

When you are ready, you can jump to the Got It? section to try some problems on your own.

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