Learning to subtract in Grade 1 can be tricky sometimes. Especially when you start working with numbers 11 to 20.
We’ve been learning how to add and subtract to 12 but now we’re upping the ante and going all the way to 20.
One of the first strategies I always teach is count up and count down, when adding or subtracting 1, 2 or 3.
My kids usually grasp the “counting up” pretty quickly. It’s the “counting down” that usually trips them up.
After practicing and reviewing how to count down when subtracting (we start this with a number line and then switch to mental math), we’ll be ready to …
Play “Snowball Subtraction”!
This is how it works:
- Everyone will get a piece of paper with a subtraction fact (no answer). You can download the sheets below.
- Everyone crumples their paper into a ball.
- On “GO!” everyone starts throwing their paper snowballs.
- On “STOP” everyone picks up a snowball, flattens it out, and solves the subtraction problem by counting back by 1, 2 or 3.
- Number sentence and answer are both written down on a recording sheet (part of the download below).
- The fast finishers can trade snowballs or look for extras on the floor and solve another one until the next round.
Fun? Oh yeah!
It’s a little noisy (as I’m sure you can imagine) but the kids are SUPER engaged.
- Print the fact sheets onto previously used paper (we love to re-cycle!)
- Double-side the recording sheet. The kids who finish these problems quickly will need the extra room.
- For those kids who need a little extra support I hand out number lines.
- Remind the kids to scan their recording sheets so that they’re not repeating a number sentence.
- Keep it fun and remember, some kids might only finish 5 number sentences, while others finish 15. And that’s okay 🙂
Here’s what the recording sheet looks like:
And these are the number fact cards (full page / landscape mode):