How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? Students learn addition and subtraction through a variety of hands-on activities. Let me show you how!
How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? Explore!
What we know about numeracy development is that students go through stages. As you see in other subjects, not every student experiences each of these stages in a linear way. This is a generalization of the stages you might see when teaching addition and subtraction:
- Direct modeling or counting (also called concrete): Students solve problems by having the objects (counters, manipulatives, blocks) in front of them to manipulate.
- Counting more efficiently (also called pictorial): Students solve problems by drawing pictures, making marks on the page, or perhaps counting on their fingers.
- Working with the numbers (also called abstract): Students solve the problems by working with numerical relationships. EXAMPLE: 5 + 8 could be decomposed to 5 + 5 = 10 and then 3 more which is 13. At this stage, we would want students to have multiple problem-solving strategies as they take numbers apart and put them back together. This moves beyond just memorizing facts. (A., V. D., Lovin, L. H., Karp, K. S., & Bay-Williams, J. M. (2018). Teaching student-centered mathematics. New York: Pearson)
So we start with exploring!
How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? It starts with counting!
We start the year with all of the counting books! Here are a few of my favorites!
- Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett
- Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
- Mouse Counts by Ellen Stoll Walsh
- Math Counts: Counting by Scholastic
- 10 Hooting Owl by Ed Allen
- Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert
These are books you probably already have in your classroom or school library. Perhaps you read them at the beginning the year. But imagine revisiting these books and lingering on pages.
In the book, Fish Eyes, you may ask students to look at this page and ask students to create a part-part-whole equation (small fish/large fish, fish with purple/fish without). You may ask them to sort these fish in another way and create a different part-part-whole equation.
How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? Books about addition and subtraction
Here are a few books that I know and love!
These two books by Trisha Speek Shaskan are a wonderful introduction to the addition and subtraction symbols.
This is a great book for exploring subtraction with the symbols.
Here is the video for Quack and Count! It is perfect for composing and decomposing numbers!
As you can see, there are quite a few books! Leave me a comment with your favorite books!
How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? Make it Hands ON!
If you use our math curriculum, you will know that we don’t have just one “addition unit” or one “subtraction unit.” Instead, we teach these concepts in a spiral fashion. Each month we dig a little deeper. Remember, what we are trying to achieve is a complete understanding of number operations and to build number sense. This can take some time AND students step up to this skill at different times. By providing spiral instruction, we are constantly reviewing and building on our prior knowledge.
As we explore part-part-whole, we explore it in a concrete way!
As we move into number bonds, we also do this in a concrete way! Can you see my little friends in the sadly constructed number bonds? (This is a Pinterest FAIL!)
I used painter tape to make these number bonds. SIDENOTE: Expo Marker does not come off of the tiled floor very easily. Neither does Duct tape. Your custodian will thank you for not making the same mistake I made one year.As students are listening to story problems, we are acting it out. Those who are not “in the story” are working on their own number bonds in their Math Took Kits.
How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? Partner work!
After we have explored together, then students work with their partners. These two pictures are from other lessons in the year, but you can see how we revisit the skills of addition and subtraction in a variety of ways.
You can find our whole group math curriculum by clicking below:
Read more about our math workshop by clicking:
How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? Small Group Instruction
We also teach addition and subtraction during our small group instruction time. This is a great way to differentiate our instruction. Some students need more support and time with a skill. Some students have already mastered the skills, so they need a challenge! Solution! Found!
You can find our small group lessons by clicking below:
How to teach addition and subtraction in kindergarten? Keep it going with Student Centers
Student math centers is a great time to keep practicing!
Find more math center ideas below:
- 12 Math Center Activities That Will Engage Your Class ALL Year! (Free File)
- What Worked Last Year? Math Stations (FREE download
Here is a link for your free file. Simply add your name and email to the box below. The file will be sent directly to your inbox!