After addition, we dive right into subtraction and learn how the two are related. Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite subtraction activities for first grade and a little about how I teach subtraction in my classroom.
I teach five main strategies when they are learning how to subtract. I introduce each one with an anchor chart, then we practice applying that strategy whole group, before trying it independently. After a week or two of practice with all the strategies, students choose whichever one is easiest for them! Two of the strategies are shown above (using a number line and counting back).
The subtraction strategies include:
– Using manipulatives
– Using a number line
– Counting back
– Flipping the fact
Practice, practice, practice:
Here students practice using manipulatives to build and remove. Using manipulatives is always the first strategy we use since I think it is the most concrete and students can really see what it means to subtract and take away from something.
I teach visualizing along with our story problems because I like my students to try and understand and picture what the story problem is actually asking. We talk a lot about what our drawings look like and why they look that way.
After we go through all the stratgies and make sure we practice how to use each one, I have my students use games, sorts, and write the room activities on a weekly basis throughout the rest of the year.
Subtract and Cover is a simple dice and spinner game! Partner games are some of my favorite to play because they are always so engaging. I give them to my students while I work in small strategy groups to help some of my struggling learners.
This sort is another activity I give to my students to complete with a partner. They take turns flipping a card, finding the sum and sorting under the correct header. The person not solving is the coach and re-teaches/corrects as needed!
I hope this post gave you some ideas and activities to help your students practice subtraction!
All the activities are found in my subtraction unit below: