Subtraction Games

Subtraction Games that will teach your child the strategy:

Think Backwards

part + part = whole

This strategy teaches your child to say to themselves, "What number can I add to the number I am subtracting to get the starting number. For example, 9-4=__. What number can you add to 4 to get 9?

Part- Part- Whole relationships work well here. The parts together make a whole. SO if you have a part and and a whole you can find the missing part:

Part + ? = Whole


1. Use a popsicle stick or coffee stirrer and turn it into a number line by simply writing numbers on it. It is a fun thing to do if your waiting at a restaurant or coffee shop. This is a handy tool to help your child practice thinking backwards. For example, find 15 on the number line, you can visually see how many you have to add to get to 21. So the equation becomes 15+?=21 or 21-15=?.

2. Find the parts. You can look around your surroundings and find a number. Then share the number with your child and ask your child to find 2 or 3 numbers (or parts) that when combined make the number you chose. Use this opportunity to emphasis parts and wholes.

3. Make my age: While your driving think about the ages of the people in the car. One at a time take the age of each person in the car and find parts that equal the whole. For example, if someone in the car is 42 everyone would look for smaller numbers (parts) that when you add them together equals 42 (whole).

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As a mother of a 10 year old, I find it difficult to get my daughter to practice math facts. We tried playing these games in the car and at the grocery store. She actually asked to do it again the other day. That has NEVER happened before. Thank you for thinking of reluctant learners and parents who don't know what else to do.


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