Addition and Subtraction Centers



This page provides examples of math center activities aligned with the Addition and Subtraction continuum of the Early Childhood Assessment in Mathematics (Board of Education of the City of New York, 2001; State Education Department). These math centers can be used by teachers or parents to support students' progress within a stage, or to facilitate movement to the next stage, on the continuum. 
 For math centers aligned with the Counting continuum see here.  For math centers aligned with the Numeration continuum see here.  For more information on using ECAM centers as an ongoing routine in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade classrooms see here.

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

Possible Centers:
Towers of Five
Make 5 on the Five Frame (v. 1)
Addition Bag
Shake 5 and Spill

Domino Addition
Show One Less

For more Centers aligned with stage A see this document.

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 Centers:
Fast Five
Make Five
Hide the Cubes
Count On One (ver. 1)
Count On One (ver. 2)
Minus One

For more Centers aligned with stage B see this document.


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).

Possible Centers:

Find Ten

Sum Search
Four in a Row Subtraction

Turn Around Dominoes
Turn Around Trains
Ten More
Add To: Result Unknown Problems (within 10)
Both Addends Unknown Problems (within 10)

For more Centers aligned with stage C see this document.

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).

Possible Centers:

Doubles Plus Two (ver. 1)
11 More
Subtract Ten
Race Around -10 (ver. 1)
3x3 Magic Square

For more Centers aligned with stage D see this document.


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 Centers:
2-Digit Addition Trains (v.1-2)
Doubles Plus One (v.2)
Make 100
Base Ten Bag: Addition
Base Ten Pictures
2-Digit Addition Split
3-Digit Addition Split
Add To: Result Unknown (within 100)
Take From: Result Unknown (within 100)
Magic Squares
4x4 Magic Square
5x5 Magic Square
Magic Star Puzzle

For more Centers aligned with stage E see this document.

Addition Center: Towers of Ten

All the Kindergarten Math Centers you'll need for the entire year
All the 1st Grade Math Centers you'll need for the entire year
All the 2nd Grade Math Centers you'll need for the entire year
All the 3rd Grade Math Centers you'll need for the entire year
All the 4th Grade Math Centers you'll need for the entire year
All the 5th Grade Math Centers you'll need for the entire year