Question: How can you use

geometryto demonstrate that the product of two negative numbers is positive?Click

HEREfor a GSP file to explore. The GSP file begins with the configuration at the right.Consider two lines that cross and indicate 0 as the common point. From the definition of a negative number as the opposite or additive inverse of a positive number, let each line have locations in the positive and negative directions. From the multiplicative identity, 1, indicate a unit in each direction on each line..

Any point on a line has an orientation, positive or negative, determined by a location.

Showing the product of two numbersTo demonstrate the product of two numbers

andp, locate lengthqon one line and a lengthpon the other.qConstruct a segment from

on the line with1to the end of lengthpon the second line.qConstruct a parallel line from

to its intersection with the line containingp.qWe have similar triangles.

That is, the product

is a length on the line containingpq. In this case the demonstration is the product of two positive values.q

Use this technique where one or both of the values is negative to show that

-- the product of a positive number followed by a negative number is a negative number.

-- the product of a negative number followed by a postitive number is a negative number.

-- the product of two negative numbers is a positive number.

After you have done your own explorations, go

HEREto see all of these demonstrations.

There are alternative constructions. Yours may be better. The issues may be on the pedagogical considerations.