This video give a detailed explanation of the meaning of zero and zero pairs. It also demonstrates some activities that can be done with DOTS+TODS™ to help pupils investigate and understand that no matter how many counters they use, as long as there is the same number of positive one (+1) DOTS as negative one (-1) TODS, they will always pair up and to represent a value of zero.

This is helpful when pupils are first introduced to adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers; they often make a common mistake.

Here is an example: (+2) + (-2) = either +4 or -4

Because DOTS+TODS™ are concrete resources that pupils can physically interact with, they can actually see and understand see why both of these answers are incorrect. As each time one a DOT is added to a TOD they make combine to represent zero, the two white DOT counters would 'pair up' with the two black TODS making two sets of zero pairs which altogether represents the value 0. As nothing plus nothing is equal to nothing (0 + 0 = 0)

So the correct answer is: (+2) + (-2) = 0

More tutorial videos can be found below and on our YouTube channel.

For more ideas of how to help children to understand positive and negative integers, directed numbers and zero pairs you may like to read this article.

To find out more about where negative and positive integers and directed numbers fit within the National Curriculum for England, read the section below.