• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Math Blues!!!


New Member
I am teaching subtraction to my first graders. I need some new ideas for hands-on lessons. I have run out of new and exciting ideas.....Any advice?


Junior Member

Have you thought of using the students as an example? Like there's a group of 5 students working at this center (use their names), then 2 go to a different center, the restroom, etc., how many are left? You can have them physically get in groups and then have students leave the groups. Hope this helps!


some subtraction ideas

I do not know if you have used this or not, but when I had to teach subtraction to my first graders I used those mini erasers that are shaped like different things such as flowers, ice cream cones, etc. I gave them word problems that dealt with them and had them figure out the answer using their erasers. They loved it and as a little reward you can allow them to keep one or two erasers.


Here are a couple of cute ideas

From My Lesson Plan Portfolio:

Ring Toss Math
Materials Required: Ring Toss Game, Flash Cards
Activity Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Concepts Taught: to find sums and differences to 18

Divide the class into two teams. Teacher will present a flash card with an addition fact or subtraction fact to 18.
The first player gives the sum or difference. If the student gets the correct answer his team scores one point. The
student is then allowed to toss the ring at the post. If the student's ring rings the post it is called a "Ringer" and
counts for two points. The quieter group, if a difference can be heard wins an extra five points. Exceptional noise of either team
= five points lost. Play continues for a given amount of time. The team with the most points at the end of play wins.
This activity encourages quick recall of addition and subtraction facts. It is an excellent way to make learning of these facts fun.


Have each child in your class make their own abacus for pennies. Then let them use it as they learn arithmetic.

See assembly/directions at: http://www.galaxy.net/~k12/math/abacus.shtml

I've done this one... good times!

Mr. C

Full Member
You could use comparison

( I like using the students as an example )

EX: 10 students in one group / 8 students in another group
Difference = 2


EX: 14 students in one corner / 5 go back to their desk
Another example:

EX: 13 students against wall / __?__ go back to desk / 7 remaining


Junior Member
Use number lines

I always carry in my bag a copies of number lines and a box of pencils with erasers on both ends.

I practice numberline math for about 10 minutes. I reward students with skittles for getting the correct answer.

This is an activitity that I did in 1st grade everyday when I was in school a longtime ago. It helped me.