Adding & Subtracting

Posted on Nov 2, 2020

Addition and subtraction are the building blocks of math! Get ready to jump right into adding and subtracting numbers without delay!

What Does It Mean to Add and Subtract?

Before you get too far down the mathematical road, you can start with explaining to your students what it even means to add and subtract. When someone has a number, and you put more to the number, you are adding to it. For example, give the child two toy balls and have them tell you how many they have. Now, give them three more and ask them how many they now have. Explain that this process is adding.

4 + 5 = 9

Practice adding with real objects (like donuts). A happy sloth – while fun – is not needed.

Subtracting will work the opposite of this. When your student takes away from a bigger number, it’s called subtracting. You can use the balls again (or any other object to teach this concept). If your learner has seven balls and you take away three, let them count how many are left.

Another way to think about adding and subtracting is that adding always gives them more than what they started with and subtracting will always leave them with less than what they started with.

Practice Addition and Subtraction

You and the student can practice addition and subtraction using objects by giving and taking away as in the above description.

After you do this a few times and they get the hang of it, show them in writing how this process “looks.” It’s very important that they learn what addition and subtraction equations are, but first, they’ll need to learn the proper signs and math operations. You can teach them that the plus sign means to add, the minus sign means to subtract, and the equals sign means it is the answer.

Order of Addition Numbers

As you’re writing the addition problems for your student, teach them the Commutative Property Rule. This rule simply means that you can switch around the numbers when adding, and you’ll still get the same sum (answer). In other words, 5 + 3 = 8, and 3 + 5 = 8.

Of course, this doesn’t work with subtraction, though. Demonstrate with objects that you can’t take a bigger number away from a smaller one because you won’t have enough. So, the order of the numerals is important when it comes to subtraction.

Opposite Operations in Math

Now you can show your students how to check their work by using “opposite” operation. In other words, if you’re adding, you can subtract to check the work, and if you’re subtracting, you can add to check your work. Go slowly so your young learner doesn’t get confused. Ensure that they are comfortable with the addition and subtraction before proceeding to this step.

You can check your math by changing the numbers and the sign

You can double check addition by re-arranging the numbers and changing the sign. If 5+4 = 9 then 9-4 should equal 5.

It is fun for kids to see how math fits together like a puzzle when the answers are correct. If the answer is wrong, when you do the opposite operation, it won’t turn out right either. Your student will begin to notice the patterns in math and find this process helps them always get the answer right. In time, they will begin to memorize what pairs of numbers go together to make a number.

Watch the Addition and Subtraction Video

Tune into the cool new video that shows your young learner how to add and subtract donuts. This kids’ math video illustrates the concepts discussed here, so they can see the process done in a fun, easy way. They will love it!


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