Thirsty for Subtraction

As my students were writing subtraction word problems using certain criteria I’d given them, one said, “I’m thirsty doing all this math madness!”

I used the left over sums from our addition strategies activity (see last post) for another math madness lesson. On the card I listed a person (or animal), a place, and things to be subtracted. The assignment: write a subtraction word problem, solve it, and write the subtraction sentence. The number on the back of the card had to be the greatest number in the problem and 5 was the minimum number of things to subtract. We had so much fun!

Side 1 of the card with person, place, and thing:


Side 2 of the card with the problem’s greatest number:


A completed subtraction word problem:


How cute is that?!




The Math Path: Addition Strategies

If you have a path, you can make it a math path, and even if you don’t, you can just arrange the math problems (or items)  in a path formation anywhere. The possibilities for what kind of math you put on the path are endless…

Here’s what we did for our first math path:

1. In class we talked about different addition strategies (counting on, doubles, make a ten, etc.) and listed them on the board in different colors.


2. I cut the bottoms off of some addition flashcards (so my kids couldn’t turn them over to check their answers) and set the sums aside for later.


3. In small groups, my students took a stroll down the math path to collect the cards. I put specific cards out for specific groups of kids so the addition problems would be appropriately challenging for each student.

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4. Back in the classroom, they decided which addition strategy was most appropriate for each flash card and color coded it accordingly (for example, make a ten problems were orange).

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5. The next day, they found the correct sums for each problem in the “sum circle” (a hula hoop filled with the answers I’d cut off), color coded them to match, and taped them below the matching addition problem.

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6. I displayed problems for each type of strategy around the room.

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Warning: Make sure the flash cards you use are matte finish/dull because marker will not stick to shiny/glossy surfaces, and even though we used the duller sides of ours, it was still messy! Lesson learned (after ten years of teaching): test your surface prior to the lesson! Hey, it was a Monday.

A Wee St. Patrick’s Day Activity

I was telling my son a bedtime story about a little leprechaun named Goldy O’Sullivan who climbed over a rainbow in Ireland, landed in a pot of gold in California, and brought the gold to a little boy named Brady (that’s my son). Then I decorated the kitchen, prepped a green breakfast for my boys, and finally sat down to make an activity for my students to do tomorrow. If you happen to be more last minute than me this evening, you can download my Pot Of Gold for free by clicking here.


“100 Wins It” and “0 Wins It”

Who doesn’t love a good math game? Here’s my latest: With “100 Wins It” students use dice and base ten blocks to build 100 using addition. With “0 Wins it” students start with 100 then use dice and subtraction to get back to zero. Both games can be played alone, with a partner, or in a group. This is a great game for the 100th day of school or any other day! Download for free and enjoy!

Let’s Graph!

This year we have been doing one graph per week as a class, but last week, my students made their own graphs. They choose their topic and type of graph (bar, pie, picture, or tally) and collected their own data. We thoroughly enjoyed a break from workbooks, and everyone was excited, engaged, and proud of the end result. Get my blank graphs here. They’re free 🙂