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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

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Lesson Transcript

Instructor:
*Rayna Cummings*

Rayna has taught Elementary Education for 12 years (in both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University

Think about all the toys you got for Christmas and count all of them in your mind. I bet you counted up to a high number. Well, in this lesson, you'll learn about counting and natural numbers, how to identify natural numbers, and if zero is a natural number at all.

Quickly count the numbers one to twenty. No problem right? Well, you just counted natural numbers. A **natural number** is any positive, whole number such as the numbers you just counted. Positive numbers are also called positive integers. Numbers are not natural numbers if they are negative numbers or fractions, such as 1/3 or 4.20.

Now that you know what natural numbers are, is zero considered a natural number?

Remember natural numbers are any positive whole number and they count up from zero. We cannot start counting without saying the most important number that starts it all - zero, but do we count something if there is zero of it? Probably not.

Think for a minute of a time when you were counting all your cool toys that you got for Christmas. Would you count them by starting with zero, one, two, three, and so on? No... you would say one, two, three, and so on. Usually, when we count items like you did your cool Christmas toys, we do not start with the number zero. Not starting with zero when we count objects makes zero being a natural number or not a debate in the world of mathematics. Most people count starting with the number one not zero. Just like you did with counting your toys. This is the argument some mathematicians make to support zero is not a natural number.

Thus, zero is known as the **neutral integer**, or the whole number that comes in the middle of the positive and negative numbers on a number line. Zero does not have a positive or negative value. However, zero is considered a whole number, which in turn makes it an integer, but not necessarily a natural number. Remember the definition of natural numbers? They have to be positive, whole numbers. Zero is not positive or negative. Even though zero is not a positive number, it's still considered a whole number.

Zero's status as a whole number and the fact that it is not a negative number makes it considered a natural number by some mathematicians. So, to answer the question is zero a natural number - yes it is on a number line and when identifying numbers in a set; but also no, because it's not used to count objects. You cannot count something that's not there!

Counting whole numbers, or natural numbers greater than zero, is a fun task to do. These numbers are always positive integers. You have to start with the **neutral integer** known as zero when using a number line, but you cannot use zero to count different objects if there aren't any objects to count. So get going and count those natural numbers. But, on a number line, always remember to begin with the natural number zero.

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13 in chapter 12 of the course:

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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

{{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}} lessons | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? 's' : ''}}

- What is an Abundant Number?
- What is a Base Number?
- What Are Cardinal Numbers? - Definition & Examples 3:06
- What Are Consecutive Numbers? - Definition & Examples 3:22
- Finding the Sum of Consecutive Numbers 4:10
- What is a Cubed Number?
- What is a Deficient Number?
- What Are Figurate Numbers? - Definition & Examples
- What Are Opposite Numbers? - Definition & Examples 2:53
- What Are Rectangular Numbers? - Definition & Examples 3:05
- Like & Unlike Terms
- Is Zero an Integer?
- Is Zero a Natural Number? 2:37
- What Are Twin Prime Numbers? 3:22
- Go to Types of Numbers for Elementary School

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