2.1: Integers and Rational Numbers
Learning Objectives
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
 Graph and compare integers.
 Classify and order rational numbers.
 Find opposites of numbers.
 Find absolute values.
 Compare fractions to determine which is bigger.
Vocabulary
Terms introduced in this lesson:
 integers
 whole numbers
 greatest
 least
 even/odd numbers
 rational numbers
 ratio
 numerator
 denominator
 proper fractions
 improper fractions
 equivalent fractions
 reducing
 simplest form
 lowest common denominator
 common denominator
 opposites
 absolute value
 entire expression
Teaching Strategies and Tips
Through the use of the number line in Example 1, students learn that “greater than” and “farther to the right” are equivalent, and that “less than” and “farther to the left” are equivalent.
Use Example 2 to show that odd numbers are two apart. The frog will never land on an even number because:
 the frog begins at an odd number
 the frog only makes a jump of
2
Students get a visual reinforcement that odd numbers are always two hops apart, even though the number
In Example 4, ask students to divide the pie diagrams into equal parts according to the denominators of each fraction and to shade according to their numerators. Common denominators have not been introduced at this point.
Use Example 5 to contrast Example 4 and motivate the process of finding common denominators. The problem of determining the larger of two, nearly equal fractions is a harder one. This task becomes straightforward once students learn to rewrite fractions as equivalent ones. Note the switch from “pies” in Example 4 to “pie rectangles” in Example 5.
Determining the larger of two rational numbers may be expressed symbolically: Given
Additional examples:

Which is greater
913 or23 ?
Solution: Since

Which is greater
317 or409 ?
Hint: Convert to mixednumbers and see Example 5.

Challenge: Without a calculator, arrange from least to greatest.
719,517,13.
Hint: Compare any two fractions. Compare the larger of these two with the third.
A mirror placed at the origin, perpendicular to the number line, reflects each whole number the same distance into the mirror as the distance it measures from the mirror. This demonstration shows that every real number has an opposite, with the exception of zero. One of the more common questions teachers get from their students is whether zero is positive or negative; it is clear from the demonstration above that zero has no reflection and therefore zero cannot be either. Positives and negatives are reflections of each other. See Example 7.
Distance is briefly explained in terms of absolute value. They are covered in the chapter Graphing Linear Inequalities.
Use Example 8 to show that absolute value expressions are grouping symbols and the order of operations applies when evaluating them – students must treat them like a parenthesis in that what’s inside must be simplified first.
Error Troubleshooting
General Tip: Often, when students cancel all the factors in a numerator, they write an answer of
When canceling repeated factors from the numerator and denominator of a fraction, remind students that a
In Example 7e, urge students to apply the
Example:
 The opposite of
−2x+1 is2x−1 and not2x+1 .
General Tip: Parentheses are an organizational tool. Students are encouraged to put them around an expression if it helps them prevent the above mistake.
Example:

Find the opposite of
−2x+1 .
Solution:
Start by putting parentheses around the expression:
Use Example 8d to help students see that
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