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Addition and Subtraction Activities

Addition and Subtraction Strategies eBook


This page provides addition and subtraction activities aligned with the Early Childhood Assessment in Mathematics (ECAM) continuum for Addition and Subtraction. Activities are suitable for partner or small group math center work and can be used by teachers or parents to support students' progress within a stage or to promote movement to the next stage on the continuum. Resources required for some of the addition and subtraction activities listed, such as dot cards, numeral cards, five frames, and ten frames can be found on the Math Resources page.

For more information on setting up ECAM Centers in K-3 classrooms see the ECAM Centers page. Click on the link to preview pages from our K-2 Addition and Subtraction Strategies e-Book.


Stage A: These children are just beginning to understand the concepts of putting small collections together, or taking a small amount from a collection. They are not yet successful in finding sums or differences.

Next Steps:

  • Successfully put two small collections together and find the sum
  • Find the difference after taking a small amount from a collection
FREE Addition/ Subtraction Centers!

POSSIBLE ACTIVITIES

Dot Card Addition
Build Five Towers
Part Whole Mats
Five Squares
Shake 5 and Spill
Make 5 on the Five Frame
Domino Addition
Domino Addition Recording Sheet
Addition Bag
Addition Plate
How Many Bears in the Cave?
5 Little Ducks
5 Gingerbread Men
Ten Oranges


Stage B: These children can successfully put two small collections together and find the sum. They can also find the difference after taking a small amount from a collection. They need to fully model, and count from one by ones to find their answers.

Next Steps:

  • Begin to use ‘short-cuts’ to add two small collections, or to take a small amount from a collection (e.g.count on to find a sum, or count back, count down to, or count up from’ to find a difference)

POSSIBLE ACTIVITIES

Plus One Game (one die)
Plus One Game (3-13)
What is One Less?
One Less (1-6)
One Less (11-20)
One Less (21-30)
Addition Word Problems
Subtraction Word Problems


Stage C: These children are beginning to use short-cuts to add two small collections, or to take a small amount from a collection. They only need part of a model, and either count on to find a sum, or count back, count down to, or count up from to find a difference.

Next Steps:

  • Begin to use 'simpler' thinking strategies to add and subtract (adding one or zero, using doubles, turning around the addends, sums to ten, or adding ten)
Make 10 Math Center Download

POSSIBLE ACTIVITIES

Doubles Towers
Doubles Bump
Doubles Path
Doubles Concentration
Facts of Five
Sums of Five
Sums of Ten
Make 10 Game
Make 10 with Dot Cards
Make 10 with Cuisenaire Rods
Make Ten Squares

Find Ten
Subtract from Ten
Four in a Row Subtraction
Ten Frame Fill
My Ten-Frame Riddle
My Double Ten-Frame Riddle
Make 10 on the Ten-Frame
Making Apple Ten Packs
Bunk Bed Problem
Double Decker Bus Problem
Towers of Ten
Ten Frame Subtraction
Number Sentence Match
Turn Around Trains
Turn Around Dominoes
Domino Fact Families
Addition Domino Train
Ten More
Tens and Ones with Unifix Cubes
Race Around (+10) Ver.1
Race Around (-10) Ver.1

Towers of Ten math center
Towers of ten work sample

Towers of Ten work samples


Stage D: These children are able to add and subtract small amounts using 'simpler' thinking strategies (adding one or zero, using doubles, ‘turning around’ the addends, sums to ten, adding ten). They are able to mentally add and subtract small numbers without making a model.

Next Steps:

  • Use later thinking strategies (fact families, extending to larger numbers, near doubles, make to ten, adding nine).
Near Doubles Game Download

POSSIBLE ACTIVITIES

Four in a Row with Near Doubles (Version 1)
The Difference Game
Eleven More
Doubles Plus One
Doubles Minus One
Number Relationship Mat
Magic Triangles
Nine Plus
Four in a Row with Near Doubles (Version 2)
Four in a Row with Near Doubles (Version 3)
Number Wheel Spin
What Number Is....?
Addition Split (2 digit + multiple of ten)
Addition Split (2 digit + 2 digit)
Subtraction Split
Subtracting Sets of Ten
Race Around (+10) Ver.2
Race Around (-10) Ver.2
Near 20


Stage E: These children are able to extend their thinking strategies to include larger numbers, and more difficult calculations with small numbers. They add and subtract mentally, using thinking strategies such as fact families, ‘near doubles’, build to ten, and adding nine.

POSSIBLE ACTIVITIES

Subtracting Multiples of Ten
2 Digit Addition Trains (1)
2 Digit Addition Trains (2)
2 Digit Addition Split
3 Digit Addition Split
2 Digit Subtraction Split
3 Digit Subtraction Split
3x3 Magic Square
4x4 Magic Square
5x5 Magic Square
Addition Magic Square
Near 100
2 Digit Addition Word Problems


More Addition and Subtraction Resources

Addition and Subtraction Strategies

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