Tuesday, 22 December 2015


Here are a few simple 'low prep' activity for subtraction in the K-3 classroom!

1. Two Dice

Roll a thirty or twenty sided number die and a standard six sided die. Students write a subtraction problem using the numbers thrown. They can 'touch count' backwards using the dots on the standard die if they need to. Roll again if the numeral die number is smaller than the dot die. 

2. Towers

Students take one tower of ten connecting cubes. They break the tower into two pieces and write down a number sentence to explain what they have done - e.g. 10-5 = 5.

3. 100 Club

Each student has 100 cubes, a standard die and a small tub. They simply 'roll and take' to move the cubes from their pile to the tub. This is great for students new to subtraction that simply need an abundance of practice 'acting out' the process of 'taking away' to make changes to a group. It will also reinforce counting and subitizing. 

I have added a low-prep worksheet activity packet to my resource collection. 

Number Snake Worksheets will help your students model the process of subtraction and record their answers on the one page. I have included cut-and-glue numbers, but if this is not suitable for your students, simply ask them to write the answer instead.

The snake becomes a count-back number line to give your students support. They can finger-point to count back, or you can ask them to make each number with cubes and place them over the numbered dots on the snake. 

For example, with 9-2, students would place nine cubes on the snake to begin. 

They then model subtraction by removing two of the cubes and taking them away from the snake. 

Students can count up how many cubes remain and check the number line to see their answer. This will also reinforce the concept that the last number covered is the answer - and it represents the number of objects left. With subtraction on a number line, initially students may find it confusing to know if it is the last number pointed to or the next number. With actual objects, they can see the connection clearly. 

Students then record their answer (either cut and glue, or simply write). 

My subtraction snake worksheet packet is on sale in my TpT store today!

Have a wonderful day friends!