The use of the “-” symbol is challenging for many students. They don’t understand the difference between the use of the symbol in -3 vs 5 – 3. To address this I use a real life example of multiple uses of the same symbol (1st 2 photos below) then break down the “-” symbol (photo below at bottom). I suggest this be introduced immediately prior to the introduction of negative numbers.

## – symbol: negative vs subtraction

**Tagged**connections, negative, operation, prior knowledge, subtraction, symbol, symbolic representation

[…] previously tackled the difference between the ” – ” symbol used to represent a negative and a subtraction problem. This post gets into multliplication through […]