In mathematics, a number line is a picture of a straight line on which every point is assumed to correspond to a real number and every real number to a point. Often the integers are shown as specially-marked points evenly spaced on the line. Although this image only shows the integers from −9 to 9, the line includes all real numbers, continuing "forever" in each direction, and also numbers not marked that are between the integers. It is often used as an aid in teaching simple addition and subtraction, especially involving negative numbers.

The number line

It is divided into two symmetric halves by the origin, i.e. the number zero.

Drawing the number line

The number line is most often represented as being horizontal. Customarily, positive numbers lie on the right side of zero, and negative numbers lie on the left side of zero. An arrowhead on either end of the drawing is meant to suggest that the line continues indefinitely in the positive and negative reals, denoted by \mathbb{R}. The real numbers consist of irrational and rational numbers, as well as integers, whole numbers, and the natural numbers (the counting numbers).

A line drawn through the origin at right angles to the real number line can be used to represent the imaginary numbers. This extends the number line to a number plane, with points on the complex plane representing complex numbers.

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