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Illustrative Math
Grade 6
Lesson 3: Comparing Positive and Negative Numbers
Let’s compare numbers on the number line.
Illustrative Math Unit 6.7, Lesson 3 (printable worksheets)
Lesson 3 Summary
The following diagram shows how to use inequalities to compare positive and negative numbers.
Lesson 3.1 Which One Doesn’t Belong: Inequalities
Which inequality doesn’t belong?
5/4 < 2
8.5 > 0.95
8.5 < 7
10.00 < 100
Scroll down the page for the solutions to the “Are you ready for more?” section.
Lesson 3.2 Comparing Temperatures
Here are the low temperatures, in degrees Celsius, for a week in Anchorage, Alaska.
day 
Mon 
Tues 
Weds 
Thurs 
Fri 
Sat 
Sun 
temperature  5  1  5.5  2  3  4  0 
1. Plot the temperatures on a number line. Which day of the week had the lowest low temperature?
2. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States was 62 degrees Celsius, in Prospect Creek Camp, Alaska. The average temperature on Mars is about 55 degrees Celsius.
a. Which is warmer, the coldest temperature recorded in the USA, or the average temperature on Mars? Explain how you know.
b. Write an inequality to show your answer.
3. On a winter day the low temperature in Anchorage, Alaska was 21 degrees Celsius and the low temperature in Minneapolis, Minnesota was 14 degrees Celsius.
Jada said: “I know that 14 is less than 21, so 14 is also less than 21. This means that it was colder in Minneapolis than in Anchorage.”
Do you agree? Explain your reasoning.
Are you ready for more?
Another temperature scale frequently used in science is the Kelvin scale. In this scale, 0 is the lowest possible temperature of anything in the universe, and it is 273.15 degrees in the Celsius scale. Each 1K is the same as 1°C, so 10K is the same as 263.15°C.
 Water boils at 100°C. What is this temperature in K?

Show Answer
0°C + 273.15 = 273.15K
100°C + 273.15 = 373.15K
 Ammonia boils at 35.5°C. What is the boiling point of ammonia in K?

Show Answer
0°C + 273.15 = 273.15K
35.5°C + 273.15 = 237.65K
 Explain why only positive numbers (and 0) are needed to record temperature in K.

Show Answer
This is because 0K is is the lowest possible temperature of anything in the universe.
Lesson 3.3 Rational Numbers on a Number Line
 Plot the numbers 2, 4, 7, and 10 on the number line. Label each point with its numeric value.
 Decide whether each inequality statement is true or false. Be prepared to explain your reasoning.
2 < 4
2 < 7
4 > 7
7 > 10
Drag each point to its proper place on the number line. Use your observations to help answer the questions that follow.
See Number Line
 Andre says that 1/4 is less than 3/4 because, of the two numbers, 1/4 is closer to 0. Do you agree? Explain your reasoning.
 Answer each question. Be prepared to explain how you know.
a. Which number is greater: 1/4 or 5/4?
b. Which number is farther from 0: 1/4 or 5/4?
c. Which number is greater: 3/4 or 5/8?
d. Which number is farther from 0: 3/4 or 5/8?
e. Is the number that is farther from 0 always the greater number? Explain your reasoning.
Glossary Terms
sign
The sign of any number other than 0 is either positive or negative.
For example, the sign of 6 is positive. The sign of 6 is negative. Zero does not have a sign, because it is not positive or negative.
Lesson 3 Practice Problems
 Decide whether each inequality statement is true or false. Explain your reasoning.
a. 5 > 2
b. 3 > 8
c. 12 > 15
d. 12,5 > 12
 Here is a true statement: 8.7 < 8.4. Select all of the statements that are equivalent to 8.7 < 8.4
A. 8.7 is further to the right on the number line than 8.4.
B. 8.7 is further to the left on the number line than 8.4.
C. 8.7 is less than 8.4.
D. 8.7 is greater than 8.4.
E. 8.4 is less than 8.7.
F. 8.4 is greater than 8.7.
 The table shows five states and the lowest point in each state.
state 
lowest elevation (feet) 
California  282 
Colorado  3350 
Louisiana  8 
New Mexico  2842 
Wyoming  3099 
Put the states in order by their lowest elevation, from least to greatest.
4. Plot each of the following numbers on the number line. Label each point with its numeric value.
5. Each lap around the track is 400 meters.
a. How many meters does someone run if they run:
2 laps?
5 laps?
x laps?
b. If Noah ran 14 laps, how many meters did he run?
c. If Noah ran 7,600 meters, how many laps did he run?
6. A stadium can seat 16,000 people at full capacity.
If there are 13,920 people in the stadium, what percentage of the capacity is filled? Explain or show your reasoning.
What percentage of the capacity is not filled?
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