# Why are fractions taught before negative numbers?

Is this always true, or are there some schools/educational programs where students are shown negative numbers before fractions? Why is it done in this order? Is it because rationals are more "real" or useful than negatives?

• A young child can understand the meaning of half a candy bar. The same child wouldn't be able to understand the meaning of negative three candy bars. I don't, not really (I understand the concept of being owed three candy bars, but that is really just an economic usage of the positive number 3). Sep 29, 2017 at 19:09
• A young child can understand the meaning of moving 5 squares forward on a game board, or 5 squares backward. The same child might have a hard time understanding the meaning of moving half a square, because there is no such thing as half a square in the board.
– user507
Sep 29, 2017 at 22:05
• What we need here is actual publications on this, not merely opinions of individual users. Sep 30, 2017 at 0:25
• Also: Historically fractions were accepted (long) before negatives were. Sep 30, 2017 at 1:09
• Here's a link to the UK national curriculum, which requires fractions much earlier than negative numbers: gov.uk/government/publications/… Sep 30, 2017 at 6:54

The negative numbers are a bit tougher to grasp, again as a commenter suggested, I typically offer an example of money owed. You have \$2, and spend \$3, one of which is borrowed. Your 'balance sheet' says you have -\$1.