We love doing absolute value problems because it means spending time with our good buddy, the number line. But don’t think we’ve forgotten about that twenty bucks he owes us. You hear that, Line? We’re coming for you.
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Or, “an asteroid the size of the sun is hurtling toward the Earth and we have only
a few minutes left to live… but at least we’re all going together!”
See how much nicer things seem when we put a positive spin on it?
Then you’re just going to love Absolute Value.
All this guy does is take negatives and turn them into positives. Of course, he also takes
positives and keeps them positive. We’re talking a whole lot of positivity.
Absolute Value determines how many spots away a number is from zero on the Number Line.
You could never be a negative number of spots away from zero, which is why Absolute Value
is always so dang positive. You can tell you’re dealing with an Absolute
Value because you’ll see a number surrounded by bars on either side. It looks almost like
they’re in prison or, as Absolute Value would say, “on vacation.”
Take any number, put it through the Absolute Value machine, and you’ll get its true colors.
Say you want to find the Absolute Value of the number seven.
First, we put it in “prison” so we know we’re looking for the Absolute Value, and
not just looking at a run-of-the-mill seven. Then we can count the spaces between zero
and seven… which, surprise surprise, is seven.
It will be the same story for every single positive number…
which makes our job easier. However, it’s a bit different when we have a negative number.
Suppose we want to find the Absolute Value of negative three. First we jail that sucker…
and then we locate it on the Number Line. We count three spaces in-between negative
three and zero, and so our Absolute Value is three.
But what if we have a number with more than one negative sign? Suppose it’s been hoarding
them since 1973 and has accumulated three hundred of them?
Doesn’t matter. No matter how many times you reflect the number three across zero…
It will always be exactly three spaces away from zero. Therefore, its Absolute Value will
always be three. Being so positive all the time can definitely
lift your mood, and keep you from being down in the dumps.
Absolute Value is about as upbeat as they come. Which can actually be really annoying
sometimes. If you tell anyone else we’ll deny it, but
boy, we hate that guy.