The step from subtracting within 10 to subtracting within 20 can be a big step for kids that relied on their fingers. As I was working with a group of third graders that were still struggling with basic subtraction, I realized that they really only needed help with between 11 and 20.
I broke that down into 8 levels. Each level had a few flash cards to practice with and get to know. Focusing on around 20 facts made our practice time much more focused and beneficial.
I started with subtracting 9. We worked with 10 frames and I led the students to discovering that the answer to all the minus 9 facts was one less than the number in the ones place. Of course, if I told them that, it wouldn’t have been meaningful. Discovering on their own though was like a beautiful aha moment. Suddenly, they knew how to quickly answer 8 more facts than they did a few minutes earlier.
I created a Super hero themed packet to got through the facts they needed to learn. Each step had a quick timed test. Once they had those facts down, they’d learn a few more for the next level.
They loved the games I created to go with their flashcards. They were super excited to move on to another level and be allowed to cut out a few more flashcards.
I put all the flashcards into a packet with a motivational cover page. They got to design their own super heroes and color in each level as they passed. I told them we were speeding through the facts and I wanted them to imagine they were a super hero. Their pictures were adorable. Here are a few:
The kids loved the fun aspect.
I loved that they were remembering the facts and performing better in math.
You can find my Super Subtracters here on TPT.
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