Math can sometimes seem like a puzzle. Terms like whole numbers, natural numbers, positive and negative numbers, and integers can all be confusing. To ease your confusion, let’s pick “integers” as the topic of discussion for today. You may be wondering, “What are integers anyway?” Well, integers are those unique numbers that don’t have any decimal or fractional parts. They are the whole numbers, both positive and negative (including zero), that help us count, compare, and understand the world around us.

But here’s the fun part – integers are all around us; all you need to do is look for them! From your pocket money to the temperature outside, they sneak into our daily life and make things measurable. So, let us explore integers and their significant presence in real-life situations.

**Why are integers important? **

Integers are like the backbone of mathematics, providing a solid foundation for countless mathematical operations and real-life applications. They are the building blocks that help a person attain mathematical fluency and make sense of the numerical complexities of our world.

Integers play a crucial role in understanding and representing quantities. The real-life examples of positive and negative numbers reflect so. They help us measure, make comparisons, and calculate a wide range of things, from financial transactions to temperature changes, population analysis, and more. They also allow us to make sense of the world around us and solve mathematical problems.

By grasping and applying integers in multiple facets of life, we work on many valuable skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning. You may be in school solving simple problems involving integers right now, but later, when you pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or any other field, a solid understanding of integers can help you grow professionally.

**Application of integers in real life: 8 relevant examples**

**1. World records**

World records are a fascinating real-life example of integers. From sports achievements to extraordinary human endeavors, world records capture the essence of pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible. Each record is a specific numerical value, an integer, representing the peak of human achievement in a particular category. Whether it’s the fastest sprint or the highest jump, these records serve as benchmarks that inspire individuals to strive for more.

Suppose a runner completes a lap in 30 seconds. One person who fails to break the record could be at +5 seconds, whereas the other person who breaks the 30 seconds mark in 24 seconds is at -6 seconds. So you can see how these integers offer a universal language to quantify and compare human accomplishments and serve as a reminder that they are not merely a mathematical concept but also have the power to celebrate remarkable achievements.

**2. AD and BC timeline**

The concept of “BC” (Before Christ) and “AD” (Anno Domini) serves as real-life examples of integers in historical chronology. BC represents the years before the estimated birth of Jesus Christ, while AD denotes the years after his birth. Both BC and AD are used to create a linear timeline that provides a common reference point for dating events in human history.

So if a person is born in 2023, it is +2023 AD, while those born 500 years before Christ can be said to be born in -500 BC. By assigning integers to specific years, BC and AD allow us to keep a record of historical events. They enable historians and researchers to establish connections, trace patterns, and gain insights into the progression of human civilization.

**3. Behavior points**

Behavior points allow teachers to track and measure individual student behavior. These points are integers, which are used to incentivize or stop specific behaviors from occurring. Positive behavior points, for example, +10, may be awarded to students who display desirable actions, such as active participation, respectful behavior, or completing tasks on time. Negative behavior points, like -5, may be assigned to students who are disruptive and disobedient.

By giving numerical values to these behaviors, a quantifiable system is established to track and assess the behavior patterns of students over time. These integers also help in the fair implementation of reward systems or consequences. It also helps promote self-awareness, encourages positive behavior, and provides a framework for individuals to reflect on their actions and strive for improvement.

**4. Price changes **

When prices of goods or services are adjusted, they are typically represented as integers that reflect the change. For example, if the original price of a product is $10 and it undergoes a price increase of +$2 (a positive), the new price would be $12. Conversely, if the price is adjusted by -$2 (a negative), it would result in a new price of $8.

These integer values allow us to quantify price adjustments and let us make comparisons between different products. The integers used to represent price changes enable people to evaluate and analyze the impact of fluctuations, make purchasing decisions, and assess the affordability or value of goods and services. Plus, it also ensures transparency and consistency in the marketplace.

**5. Calories gained/burned**

Have you ever observed someone who is on a dieting spree? You will often see them counting their calories. Calories are integers or numerical values used to measure the energy content of food and energy expenditure through physical activity. When we consume food, we gain calories; when we exercise, we burn calories. Integers quantify these energy values and give us an idea of how well we meet our diet goals.

For instance, if you eat a chocolate bar, you will be +200 calories closer to your daily caloric goal, but if you take a 30-minute jog, you may burn 300 calories and record it as -300 calories in your chart. By tracking calories gained and burned, one can manage their weight. Here integers serve as a means for individuals to meet their health and fitness goals and work towards a healthy lifestyle.

**6. Business profit/loss**

For any business to be successful, it is crucial to keep note of its profits and losses over a given period of time. Profit is a positive outcome, indicating that a business has earned more revenue than its expenses. At the same time, a loss represents a negative outcome, reflecting that the company’s expenses have exceeded the revenue generated. These financial figures are typically expressed as integers, which quantify the profit or loss incurred.

So, if a company’s profit and loss statements reflect + $10,000, it means they have earned it as a profit. But if it shows a negative integer like -$5000, it would represent losses. So you can see how by using integers, businesses can measure and evaluate their financial performance and establish positive, negative, and zero correlations between different variables. This provides executives with crucial insights into a company’s financial health and helps identify improvement areas.

**7. pH values**

In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, typically ranging from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral; below 7 indicates acidity, while anything above 7 indicates alkalinity. As you can see, pH values are also integers. For instance, a solution with a pH of 3 is more acidic than another with a pH of 5. Usually, pH values are positive integers falling between 0 to 14.

However, that does not mean a pH can never have a negative value. It may be hard to determine, but it is possible. Some environmental samples, like the Hot Springs near Ebeko Volcano in Russia, are reported to have a pH of -1.7. By utilizing integers to represent pH values, scientists and researchers can analyze the acidity or alkalinity levels of different solutions, thus, enabling them better understand their chemical characteristics.

**8. Game scores**

Games with negative markings are yet another example of integers. Whether it’s an online or offline competition, game scores are represented mainly by numerical values. These integers measure the performance of a player within the game. Higher scores indicate greater achievement, while lower scores indicate lower success.

The scores can be positive integers, or they can even be negative numbers if the player has received a negative marking Sometimes, it can even be zero! Integers depicting game scores provide a basis for rankings, records, and determining winners. It also encourages players to strive to achieve higher scores next time and facilitates friendly competition among players.

**Summing up, **

Integers are the simplest and most fundamental component of mathematics. You need them for arithmetic operations, no matter how big or small. Maybe that’s why there are numerous quotes and sayings about the importance of numbers. By exploring examples of integers in real-life situations, we realize how relevant and powerful these numbers are in our everyday lives. Integers help us navigate financial transactions, analyze data, and make informed decisions.

They are not just confined to math textbooks but are needed to bring order and structure to our daily experiences. By recognizing and understanding integers, we gain mathematical fluency and valuable skills that extend far beyond the classroom. So, don’t get overwhelmed when you deal with integers. Use your knowledge to navigate and appreciate the numerical intricacies that appear in our everyday lives.

I am Priyanka Sonkushre, a writer and blogger. I am the person behind “One Loving Mama,” a mom blog. Equipped with a Bachelor’s degree along with an MBA, my healthcare background helps me deeply understand learning difficulties. I know how challenging it can be for parents to find the right resources to help their children excel in life. So, here I am to blend my healthcare expertise with my parenting experience to create valuable and helpful resources for parents and teachers supporting children with learning differences. If you wish, you can follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn.