The sign of a number tells direction on a number line. Positive numbers represent moves to the right and negative numbers represent moves to the left. The subtraction 5 - 3 means start at 5 and remove a distance of positive 3. Removing a number is the same as adding its opposite. The result is positive 2, so 5 - 3 = 2. Subtracting 5 - (-3) means remove a distance of negative 3 from a distance of positive 5. Removing negative 3 is the same as adding its opposite, positive 3. The result is positive 8, so 5 - (-3) = 8.

Subtracting Integers using the Brainingcamp Number Line virtual manipulative.

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