Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fun with Subtraction!

The Action of Subtraction
We began our subtraction unit by reading The Action of Subtraction. Although it was probably a little more appropriate for first grade, the kids enjoyed the rhyming text. Then the children acted out subtraction problems as I told subtraction stories.

Five Little Ducks
We sang Five Little Ducks and acted out the song with Duck Puppets. Then we used rubber ducks to model subtraction problems as a whole group. Finally, the children used counters and Work Mats to practice independently. I added the rubber duck activity to one of our math tubs.

Five Little Monkeys
We sang and acted out the song Five Little Monkeys. I modeled subtraction problems using my Chicka Chicka Tree and Monkey Props. Then the children used counters and Work Mats to model subtraction stories. Finally, we made a Five Little Monkeys Class Book.


Five Green & Speckled Frogs
We sang and acted out the song Five Green & Speckled Frogs. Here are some Frog Props I made. Just laminate and stick magnets/velcro on back. We modeled subtraction problems using props. Then the children used frog counters and Work Mats to model problems independently.

Subtraction Stories
First I modeled some subtraction stories on chart paper. I pre-drew the pictures and had the children help me tell the stories and write the equations. Then the children wrote their own stories.

Who Took the Cookies?
We read Who Took the Cookies? and acted out subtraction stories based on the song. I made a poster of a cookie jar and some paper cookies. I told subtraction stories as the children took cookies from the jar. For example: "There were 6 cookies in the jar. John took 4 cookies. How many are left?" Then the children wrote and illustrated pages for our Who Took the Cookies Class Book.  Another fun activity that we didn't get to do is use Cookie Crisp Cereal to model subtraction problems on a Cookie Jar Mat. As you tell subtraction stories, the children eat the cookies!

Benny's Pennies
We read Benny's Pennies and modeled subtraction stories with pennies. After I modeled on the board with magnetic pennies, each child used pennies and a Piggy Bank Mat to model subtraction. I called out subtraction stories using the children's names. For example, "Nicole had 6 pennies. She spent 4 pennies on candy. How much does she have left?" The children modeled the problems and wrote the equations on their white boards.

Clear the Deck
We reviewed addition and subtraction with this fun game from Can Do Kinders. I had the children work in pairs and split one game board between them. Each child started with ten cubes. They rolled +/- dice and numeral dice to determine how many cubes to add or subtract from their side. I also had them write each equation on their white boards for extra practice. The first to "clear their deck" wins! They had so much fun with this!


  1. I love it:) Especially the literature tie-ins! Can I Pin this?

  2. I love reading your blog posts. They are always filled with lots of good activity ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing! These will be great!
    ~ Amy

  4. I am so glad that I found your blog - you have great ideas to share! I am looking forward to following you! I have a new blog and would love for you to stop by and offer suggestions!

  5. I LOVE your ideas! Do you have the 5 little ducks subtraction sheet available somewhere? I would love to get it.
    Thanks, Jen

  6. Excellent ideas and surely fun for the children. I always start addtion and subtraction with stories that they can relate to and have them draw pictures also. Love all the Language links as well. Thank you for sharing.