- #1

Gnubie

## Main Question or Discussion Point

]My 6 yr old saw negative numbers in my math book and wanted to know what they meant. Using pennies as counters didn't help. She didn't understand at all the idea of taking something from nothing (0). Explaing negatives as just distance from zero on the number line did work. Now she has asked "what's on the other side of zero." I asked if she meant negative zero (yes). Tried explaining that nothing was just nothing--there is nowhere for the zero to go. This answer is not enough. This kid has rolled it over in her head for a couple of days and is now back asking about the negative zero. Please pardon us if this question is a bit ridiculous. Her interest in the math has me feeling humbled by the responsibililty not to dampen that interest with some ham-handed response she won't get. That's why this question is harder than "Why can dog drink out of the toilet and we can't." Or the time @ the laundrymat a young guy called his girlfriend a "useless t**t", my innocent one wanted to know "what's t**t?" Told her it was the past tense of twit. Then she wanted to know what past tense meant, so we were back to square one, but at least she forgot about t**t. But how do I explain why there's no negative zero? Maybe tell her it's the past tense of zero? Any ideas on explaining this will be so appreciated. Thank you.