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Level 5-6 Numbers - Negatives - Multiplication and Division
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Level 5-6 Numbers - Negatives - Multiplication and Division

Multiplication and division are not everybody's favourite parts of KS3 Maths. The same goes for negative numbers. So how hard is it going to be to mix the two? Actually, multiplying and dividing negative numbers is really quite straight forward - as long as you remember the rules.

It's a common saying that two negatives make a positive. What's more - it's true. Multiplying and dividing negative numbers is just the same as normal multiplication and division, with just one exception. All you need to remember is that two like signs (both + or -) give a positive result, whereas two unlike signs (one + and the other -) give a negative result. So, to give you an idea of how that looks, let's deal with a simple example involving 8 and 2:

  • 8 x 2 = 16.
  • -8 x 2 = -16
  • -8 x -2 = 16
  • 8 ÷ 2 = 4
  • -8 ÷ 2 = -4
  • -8 ÷ -2 = 4

Remember the rule and you won't go far wrong. Now test yourself on multiplying and dividing negative numbers in the following quiz.

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1.
What is -2 x -5 x 17?
-170
35
170
350
It gets a little more complicated when there are more than two numbers involved!
2.
What is (-100 ÷ -10) ÷ -5?
-2
0
2
10
The calculation in brackets is a negative ÷ a negative so the answer will be a positive. We then divide this positive by a negative so the answer will be a negative
3.
What is -43 / 5?
-8.6
-4.3
-2
20
One negative and one positive number equals a negative result
4.
What is -20 / 4?
-16
-12
-6
-5
Most calculators have a '+/-' button which gives a negative number
5.
What is -4 x -4 x -4
-64
-12
12
64
Note that although the first two negative signs become positive (-4 x -4 = 16), when multiplied by the third negative sign the result will be negative
6.
Which negative number do you need to times by itself to equal 81?
-3
-5
-7
-9
9 would also work but that wasn't on the list of answers!
7.
What is -7 x 8?
-78
-56
56
87
A negative x a positive = a negative
8.
What is -21 x -6?
-216
-126
126
216
BOTH numbers are negative, therefore the result will be positive
9.
What is -84 / -3?
-28
24
28
252
A negative ÷ a negative = a positive
10.
What is (-88 ÷ 11) ÷ -2?
-16
4
16
24
-88 ÷ 11 = -8 and -8 ÷ -2 = 4
Author:  Frank Evans

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