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Left and Right, Up and Down, Backwards and Forwards

When working with geometry, it’s important to know the difference between left and right, up and down, and forwards and backwards. Here’s an explanation of those things.

Left and Right

Left and right hand

Knowing the difference between left and right is one of the basic skills you will need. Here are some ways to practice it:

  • Hang a picture like the one above on the wall in front of your toilet. Then you’ll have to look at it every time you sit there.

  • Get fake tattoos with the letters L and R on the back of your hands. If it’s difficult to find fake tattoos, you can just use some brightly colored makeup or greasepaint, or a marker. That will also do the trick.

  • Imagine you’re sitting in a car. Then the steering wheel is on the left. (Unless you live in the UK, then it’s on the right). You can use this as a memory aid.

Up and Down

Arrows pointing up and down

When I write up, I mean towards the sky. When I write down, I mean towards the ground. When I talk about the number line, then upwards is the same as moving towards the right. When I write downwards, I mean towards the left on the number line.

Forwards and Backwards

Arrows pointing back and forth

When I talk about the number line and I write forwards, I mean towards the right. When I write backwards, I mean towards the left.

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