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.


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