Absolute Value & Opposite Integers

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  • 0:01 Numbers
  • 0:34 Absolute Value
  • 1:59 Opposite Intergers
  • 3:09 Example
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After watching this video lesson, you'll understand what an absolute value is, and you'll also learn how to find the opposite of an integer. In addition, you'll learn how every pair of opposite integers will always add up to zero.


Numbers are everywhere! We use them to play counting games like hide and seek. We use them in math problems. We use them to solve physics problems. We use them to tell us how fast we can go on the road. We also use them to tell us how much something we want to buy will cost us.

Numbers are important, as is being able to use them to help us solve problems. In this video lesson, we look at two ways that numbers are used in math.

Absolute Value

The concept we're going to look at is the absolute value. The absolute value is the distance from zero of a number. Picturing a number line will help you visualize the absolute value.

Number Line
number line

For example, if you find the number 3 on the number line, you'll see that it's 3 spaces to the right of 0. The absolute value of this number 3 is 3 because it is 3 spaces away from 0.

What about the number -5? How many spaces is it away from 0? It is 5 spaces to the left of 0. So, the absolute value of -5 is 5. What about some other numbers? The absolute value of 8 is 8, and the absolute value of -8 is also 8.

Are you starting to see some pattern here? When we take the absolute value of a number, our answer is simply the number without the negative sign. If our number is positive to begin with, then our answer will be that number. If our number is negative, then our answer will be that number without the negative sign.

In math, we have a symbol to show us that we are talking about the absolute value. This symbol looks like two pipes surrounding our number. So, the absolute value of -3 is written as |-3|. To include the answer, we write |-3| = 3.

Opposite Integers

The second concept that we are discussing in this video is how opposite integers always add up to zero. Remember that our integers are our whole numbers. A pair of opposite integers is the negative and positive versions of a number together. So, 5 and -5 are a pair of opposite integers. They are called opposites because they are on the opposite sides of the number line.

Let's see what happens when we add them up: 5 + (-5). When we have plus a negative number, it turns our problem into a subtraction problem. We have 5 - 5. What is that equal to? 0.

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