Video: Comparing Absolute Values of Integers in a Real-World Context

A helicopter is hovering at a height of 647 ft, and a diving bell is at −576 ft. Which one is farther from the sea level?

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Video Transcript

A helicopter is hovering at a height of 647 feet, and a diving bell is at negative 576 feet. Which one is farther from the sea level?

So if this is our sea level, we’re told that the helicopter is hovering at a height of 647 feet, where the diving bell is at negative 576 feet. We wanna know which one is farther from the sea level, essentially which distance is greater. Well, looking at the numbers, 647 is greater than negative 576. However, the negative sign for the depth of the diving bell essentially needs to be disregarded because for a distance, it will be positive.

So we need to find or use the absolute value of each of these altitudes to be able to compare them for distances from the sea level. So we have the absolute value of 647 which is 647 because an absolute value will make a value positive, whether it’s positive or negative to begin with. And now, for the diving bell, the absolute value of negative 576 is positive 576.

So this means that the distance as for 647 feet is greater than the distance of 576 feet. So the helicopter is further away from the sea level than the diving bell.

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