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Signed Number Accuracy

Students working with signed numbers in higher math often make sign errors in calculations. Why? How is this prevented?

Students need to learn the rules for working with signed numbers in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They need to work problems that present signed numbers in many situations. Keep the drill going until the student has really learned how to work with signed numbers.

Have your students consider the signs in a problem first. If possible, write the sign of the answer before doing the arithmetic part of the problem. Be careful using signs with the distributive property. Frequently students get the first term distributed but forget a second term in the parentheses.

Have your student work with a list of the sign rules when doing any math work requiring signed numbers.

Have a student struggling in math? Get immediate help. Contact Beth Silver at or 310-720-0390.

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