So this post is about how to help your kids really “get” addition and subtraction. These ideas can be used to supplement whatever math curriculum you are using.
With my other kids, I’ve found it helpful to have them do extra addition and subtraction problems from themathworksheetsite along with their Singapore Math book. Then when they get to higher addition and subtraction problems, they are more than ready!! But with the other kids they were able to move from addition to subtraction pretty easily. We had an abacus and they used their fingers to count, they didn’t fight me on doing the worksheets and kept at it until it made sense. My last little one refuses to use his fingers and we broke our abacus (I need to order a new one!) He also gets frustrated a lot more easily than the other kids did, and really doesn’t like not knowing the answers right away!
Use a Specific Worksheet for Practice
So I wrote out this worksheet for him- I went through it with him and I think he got it. I made up a printed version which I plan to have him do daily until they are easy for him. I have been helping him memorize them over the past few weeks, but when I was asking him the questions to get him to apply it to subtraction like for 14 – 7 , asking what is 7 + 7 is- he just wasn’t getting it. But happily, he got it with this worksheet when I went through it with him.
He didn’t want to admit that he got it, but he was able to do all the problems. So yay!! It is also an opportunity to work on those character weaknesses- frustration, giving up too soon, and diligence as well as controlling the temper!
Free Worksheet for You
Well, here is the worksheet you can download for free without entering your email:
Math Games Using Playing Cards
We’ve also used face cards to play a few adding games that have been fun and he has enjoyed.
One game is where we sort of play California speed where we lay our cards down in front of us one a time until we see a match. The difference is that we match up 10s – 1 matches 9, 2 matches 8, etc. The person with the most cards at the end wins. Repetition is the key to getting those number pairs memorized fluidly. That has been working great.
There are lots of ways to use face cards for math. One way is to turn over 2 cards at a time and then they have to be added or subtracted. Another way is to say that each card I turn over has to be added to a certain number or subtracted from a certain number. If they get the answer right, they get to keep the cards. It works best with at least 2 kids because they can compete and try to say it first.
Sometimes the kids have ideas of other games we can try using the cards. You can also use blocks, marbles, paper clips, etc. and make up all sorts of games.
Look for Ways to Keep it Interesting
We’ve also used some apps and some computer games, but I haven’t taken the time to vet them thoroughly and I’m trying to limit screens anyway. But the couple I have have been somewhat helpful.
Here is a list of some things we do to help us learn addition and subtraction-
- counting markers, pencils, crayons and then taking them away to see what’s left
- abacus – which would work except ours broke and another got lost and another is weird
- addition and subtraction worksheets
- using fingers to count
Take care, hope this helps!
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Again- here is the worksheet download: