August 17, 2022

Teaching addition and subtraction is a huge part of the kindergarten curriculum now.


Use games and fun activities


Kids learn the most when the material is hands-on. Another plus is when the material is engaging. Use the hiding game with addition and subtraction.

how to teach addition and subtraction
Give each set of partners several cubes. 5 is a perfect number. One partner breaks them apart and hides some. The other has to guess how many. After they discover the correct amount, they say together: Because 2 plus 3 equals the sum of 5.


Transition to visuals


Start transferring addition to paper by using illustrated sums, or having students draw objects they can count.

It’s best if you put visuals alongside numbers to promote the association between the two. Consider using a graphic organizer with the sum written across the top and a space for drawing under each number.

Use a number line


At this stage, most students will still be adding by counting out every number in a sum to reach the total solution. A number line, however, removes the need to count out the first number in the sum.

If the sum is 4 + 3, for example, students can put their finger on the four to start with, and then count up three places to reach 7. They no longer need to count out the 4 first to reach the solution.

Counting Up


Once students know how to use a number line, you’ll want them to use the same “counting up” strategy in their heads.

You can then have them practice this by counting aloud on their fingers. Let’s stick with 4 + 3 as an example:

Students start with a closed fist and say “4”.
Students then count up “5, 6, 7”, extending three fingers one at a time.
Students now have three fingers extended, but remind them that the answer isn’t 3. They started with a 4 in their fist and then counted up, so the answer is 7.

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