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Multiplying & Dividing Negative Numbers

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  • 0:01 Negative Numbers
  • 0:58 Multiplying
  • 2:12 Example
  • 2:54 Dividing
  • 3:40 Example
  • 4:06 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 will be able to multiply and divide negative numbers with ease. Learn what to watch for and how to handle the negative signs so that you get the right answer every time.

Negative Numbers

Negative numbers are the numbers less than zero. They're just as important as the positive numbers that we are so used to. Even though we don't normally use them in everyday life, they make up half of our number line and are thus equally important.

Where you will see negative numbers is in math problems. All negative numbers can be recognized by the negative sign in front. Because you will see negative numbers in your math problems, it will benefit you to know how to multiply and divide negative numbers. This is just what we will consider in this video lesson. You will see that multiplying and dividing negative numbers is very similar to doing the same with positive numbers. The only thing that you have to be careful of is your negative sign.

Multiplying

Multiplying negative numbers turns out to be very similar to multiplying positive numbers. The process involves multiplying the numbers together, ignoring the negative signs, and then deciding on what the sign of the answer should be.

To decide whether the answer is negative or positive requires figuring out how many negative signs you have in your problem. If you have an odd number, then your answer is negative. If you have an even number of negative signs, then your answer is positive. This is because two negatives makes a positive. Therefore, if you have an even number of negative signs, then they all turn into positives. So, 3 * -2 = -6 because there is only one negative sign or an odd number of negative signs. But -5 * -2 = 10 because there are two negative signs or an even number of negative signs.

Example

Let's look at an example.

6 * -2 * -2

We are multiplying a 6 with a -2 and another -2. To do this, we first multiply the 6 with the 2 and then the other 2. We get 12 * 2 = 24. Now we have to decide whether this answer is negative or positive. How many negative signs do we have in our problem? We have 2. Is 2 odd or even? It's even, so our answer is positive. Our answer is 24.

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