Thursday, February 27, 2014

Math Facts: Addition/Subtraction

Recently, I put together a new Math activity highlighting basic addition and subtraction facts.  I am hoping to reinvigorate some math lessons through the use of this material as my observations in the classroom tell me some children might enjoy a little variation - in other other words, we need to "spice things up a bit!"

I have re-arranged some materials in the math area and added this set up at a table, against a wall.   Each drawer contains ten small, identical items such as stones, acorns, shells, beads, etc.  On the top left a small box holds addition equation "tickets" (with sums no more than ten).  The box on the right holds subtraction equation "tickets."  The decorative wooden sphere contains small number stamps which the children may use for recording their work.

Addition:  To complete the  activity the child choses a drawer and a ticket, and places the manipulatives accordingly.

To find the sum, the items are counted into the remaining space.  I do not have a picture of the recording sheet, but at this time, the child could record his/her work on paper.
Subtraction:  To complete the activity, the child first places the corresponding minuend in the first box.  

Then,  the corresponding subtrahend is counted into the second box, leaving the difference in the first box.  Again, work can be recorded by writing out the equations or using number stamps.

I tried to tone down the utilitarian look of the drawers with natural elements - I think it worked because it looks so inviting and lovely in our classroom! :-)
And, while I was rearranging things, I took the opportunity to unpack and place some newly acquired Math materials in their new "home":

Due to limited space for additional math shelves, I converted our window still  - much better than having it crammed on the existing shelves (and there was really no other place to put those beautiful  fraction circles)! 


  1. This is a great math activity and I would love to use it with my children. I looked for the wooden drawer, but could not find one. Do you remember where it is from? Thanks so much!

  2. Thanks! I picked up the tray from another Montessori school that was having a 'garage sale.' I think you can find them at Montessori Services (I'm pretty sure I've seen them in their catalog) or other Montessori distributors.

  3. I really enjoy reading your blog and waiting for your next update. I appreciate all the work you put into this site, helping out others with your services.

    Montessori Subtraction Tables