Welcome to the Breaking Down the Standards Series. Now that we have covered all things ADDITION, in this post we’ll be diving into strategies for success with teaching subtraction. When you teach subtraction to your first graders, you’ll want to be aware of the Common Core / TEKs standards to help your students get the most out of your lessons.
To see the First Grade Subtraction Strategies Standards for the Common Core and the TEKS, click the image above.
Vertical Alignment for First Grade Subtraction Strategies is so important when planning your lessons. In other words, we need to examine not only the first grade standards, but Kindergarten and 2nd grade standards as well. You need to know what your students should already know and also what they should know when their first grade year is over. Vertical alignment looks at the Kindergarten Standards as well as the Second Grade Standards. It sets you and your students up for SUCCESS! Click the image above to see the Vertical Alignment.
Kindergarten:
Can already: Make a ten and subtract within ten (understands subtraction)
1st Grade:
Need to Learn: See #3 The Breakdown
2nd Grade:
Preparing to: Add/Subtract within 100, solve 2 step word problems, recall basic facts, addition arrays, add up to 4 two digit numbers, add within 1,000.
Need Second Grade Resources? Check these out from my friend Cynthia at My Kind of Teaching
You can also read her blog post about Fact Fluency here.
3. The Breakdown: First Grade Subtraction Strategies
When examining the standards to create the most productive and engaging lessons, keep your eye on the verbs. I’ve highlighted them in red. The verbs tell what your students will be doing to learn the standards.
When first graders leave first grade, they should be able to: (focus on the verbs in red)
- subtract within 20 using pictures, words and numbers
- solve word problems within 20 (word problems will be covered in a separate post)
- solve subtraction number sentences and word problems with numbers missing in all positions 2 + 4 = [ ]; 3 + [ ] = 7; [ ] + 2 = 8
- explain strategies to solve number sentences within 20
- generate & solve problems when given a number sentence within 20
- understand and apply the relationship between addition and subtraction
- understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem using the Friends of Ten
- determine the unknown number in a subtraction sentence
There are a few more objectives which will be covered in the Word Problems post.
Students also should know:
- counting backwards within 20
- counting back strategy (posters included in this post)
If your students don’t know or remember these strategies, they are easy for most kids to relearn.
First Grade Subtraction Strategies Recommended Progression:
Find or Determine the difference, missing subtrahend or minuend within:
- Start with the Friends of Ten
- 10
- 15
- 18
- 20
- the unknown number – missing subtrahend ( 12 – ___ = 9 ) (Start with Friends of Ten)
- unknown number – missing minuend or ( ____ – 3 = 9 ) (Start with Friends of Ten)
Subtraction Strategies Manipulatives – The words “Using CONCRETE MODELS“ are used over and over in the standards when the focus is on addition and subtraction. Make sure you have some kind of manipulatives for your student to use to practice. Every student should start with them, but some won’t need them as much as others. Students should use manipulatives as long as necessary. Students with learning disabilities may always need manipulatives. For this reason, they may be part of their IEP.
My Favorite Manipulatives:
- Two Sided Counters
- Unifix Cubes
- Snap Cubes
- 6 Colored Disks
2 Sided Counters, Snap Cubes and 6 Colored Counters are my favorites but, use whatever you have.
Ahead of time, place 20 Snap Cubes or Two-Sided Counters in a baggie, ready to pass out to students.
4. The Teach: Basic Subtraction Vocabulary
Chances are, your students didn’t learn subtraction vocabulary in Kindergarten. And while the TEKS and CC standards do not specifically state that these should be learned in first grade, I feel that it is important when referring to the different numbers in the number sentences. Therefore, I have created posters to help with this task.
Difference: The answer to a subtraction problem
Minuend: The number that is being subtracted from (the greatest number in the number sentence)
Subtrahend: The number that is being subtracted
Minus Sign: Subtracting or taking away (also comparing)
Equal Sign: Same value
SUBTRACTION TERMS
Click the image to grab these for FREE.
Mini Lesson Idea:
Now that you’ve covered the basic subtraction vocabulary, you can create an Anchor Chart and label the following. Show horizontal and vertical number sentences:
- Subtraction Sign
- Equal Sign
- Minuend
- Subtrahend
- Difference
- Number Sentence / Equation / Solution Sentence (used interchangeably)
- Missing Minuend
- Missing Subtrahend
Use this formal vocabulary when discussing subtraction strategies.
Anchor Chart Information
Create an Anchor Chart by writing a solution sentence on a large piece of chart paper. After going over each of the vocabulary terms from above, have students help you label each of the parts of an Subtraction Solution Sentence.
First Grade Subtraction – Basic Facts Strategies:
The following is a list of the Basic Fact Strategies mentioned in the Standards. Each has an idea for teaching the skill.
Subtract within 10 using Friends of Ten Strategy
10 – 6 = ____
10 – ____ = 2
____ – 3 = 7
Since kids should know the Friends of Ten, subtraction from 10 is an excellent place to start! You can do this by writing them on the board or creating flash cards from index cards.
Counting Back Strategy – These posters explain how to use the Counting Back strategy for basic subtraction and for solving for the missing minuend/subtrahend. Click the image to grab these FREE Posters!
Number Relationships with Subtraction Facts
First, let’s start with Knowing Basic Fact Families. Then, we will delve into how fact families work when focusing on subtraction sentences.
I love it when kids see relationships of numbers. And, because we have covered FACT FAMILIES in the Addition Post, seeing the relationships with subtraction will be a snap! We will use number relationships to Determine the unknown number in subtraction equations. Below is image from a new resource that I recently created for teaching missing number in subtraction number sentences. Click on the image to check it out!
Subtraction Strategy – Missing Minuends / Subtrahends
During the school year, you may want to teach your kids to us a number line to solve for the missing number in all positions.
Likewise, you can also use a similar process while working with two sided counters and ten frames.
For kids to attain subtraction fact fluency, they must practice, practice practice. Due to the need for so much practice, I’m offering 3 free worksheets for practicing Missing Numbers in all positions. Differences, Missing Minuends, & Missing Subtrahends. Click the image to grab the FREE worksheets.
More Addition & Subtraction Practice Resources:
Click here to read my Blog Post about Using Boom Cards.
6. The Small Group Instruction: From Manipulatives to Memory
These are Fun Halloween Themed Task Cards that require your students to use Ten Frames and Counters to solve for the missing numbers. Click the image to grab them for FREE!
Because my students will soon be challenged to recall their basic facts, I like to see my them go from counting objects such as fingers, counters, cubes, etc., to committing the facts to memory. Especially when subtracting from 10. This is a great objective to have for your small group. In order to do this, you need to scaffold their instruction. If necessary, start with differences from 5, then to 10, then 12, 15, 18 then 20. If they learn the differences from 10, all the others will be easier. Focus your energy there. Use Flash Cards and Practice, Practice, Practice.
You might also like these:
Small Group Activity Idea:
An easy small group activity is to grab some subtraction flashcards, (or custom make your own using index cards) and some counters. Allow students to solve for each position in a subtraction number sentence.
7. The Learning Centers: Basic Subtraction Facts Practice
Because Kids love working with codes I created these worksheets are for solving Basic Subtraction Facts. Your students will need to create and equation then solve it! Grab these for FREE, click the picture below.
Relating Addition & Subtraction Facts:
If you are like me, you always have something related to addition and subtraction in your math rotations. First of all, it’s a necessity, and second, it is EASY to do.
Addition & Subtraction Math Centers
It is important for kids to relate addition to subtraction when working with missing numbers in an equation. For this reason, I like to keep these in my math centers all year long. This means that your students are practicing subtraction but at the highest level (besides word problems). And, working with missing minuends and subtrahend is great practice for higher order thinking.
Here are some great resources for learning centers from my friend Carol (The Chocolate Teacher)
Online Games:
Splashlearn has many Subtraction Games
8. The Fun – Shake and Spill Basic Subtraction Facts
Did you download the Addition Shake ‘n Spill Activity from the Addition Post? Even if you didn’t, you can give this Shake ‘n Spill subtraction activity that can be put together in a snap! Grab this FREE Shake and Spill Recording Sheet to learn how.
This Shake ‘n Spill Activity requires 2 Sided Counters. If you need some, you can use my trusted link to check them out.
Don’t forget to pin the image below to your Teaching Resources board for future use.
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AND Grab these Free Subtraction Bingo Dabber Games!
Thank you for stopping by!
-Carrie Lutz
Disclosure: Carrie Lutz is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a small commission on products purchased through Amazon.com and other affiliated websites. Of course, You do not pay more when purchasing products through these links.
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