While some children who need help with addition and subtraction will benefit from lots of practice with worksheets, flashcards, and the like, there are many that will find such practice to be not much help at all. Certain students that struggle with addition and subtraction will not yet have developed a feel for numbers.
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For whatever reason, some students will have "moved on" to formal addition and subtraction before they have developed the required foundation. Helping these students often requires them to "go back" and participate in activities that are more common for younger students. Their reluctance to do activities that they might think "babyish" or that are clearly different from their classmates can be a problem if not handled with care and understanding.
Foundation Activities for Addition and Subtraction
Before starting formal addition and subtraction students should have a sense of the size of a number, be able to recognize nearby numbers and identify if a number is bigger or smaller than another. Many students who struggle do not have these skills and have not yet had adequate experience of handling objects, grouping them, breaking them apart. Such hands-on experience with concrete materials is vital before students move on to solve abstract equations like 5 + 4 = on worksheets or flashcards. There are many activities and resources available to help such students develop their number sense and to support an early understanding of the concepts of addition and subtraction. You will find some ideas and activities listed here. When doing these activities with your children think about modeling of addition and subtraction using objects and using pictures to help solve simple word problems.
Listed below are printable resources and online activities that can help students develop their number sense.
- Printable Domino Cards (28 dominoes on 2 pages)
- Blank Domino Cards : Make Your Own Dots! (by click or by hand)
Adding to 10 Practice Quiz
Try the adding to 10 practice quiz below. It provides additional questions with prompts for incorrect answers.
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Number Bond Activity Worksheets
The worksheets below provide practice that can help students decompose numbers into component pairs.
- Number bonds for 3 and 4
- Number bonds for 5
- Number bonds for 6
- Number bonds for 7
- Number bonds for 8
- Number bonds for 9
- Number bonds for 4 & 5 : Stacked to color
- Number bonds for 6, 7, & 8 : Stacked to color
- Number bonds for 9 & 10 : Stacked to color
- Breaking Numbers Apart (3-Page Addition and Subtraction Worksheet)