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How can I help Y1 dd with subtraction?

28 replies

imaginaryfriend · 21/02/2009 21:39

Dd's very good with literacy but not so hot with numeracy. She's getting quite good at addition if the numbers aren't too high or tricky. But she really doesn't get subtraction. I don't know how they teach them to subtract in Y1 so would appreciate any tips?

OP posts:
gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 21:41

objectts (or sweets with added erm 'incentive)
put a pile of them out clearly spaced
"take one away" (=eat one) count the remaining ones

items of clothing in the morning - count them, subtract one (wear it) count how many left

anything that interests her around the house
we did this with grapes

gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 21:42


I need to subtract a T?

cornsilk · 21/02/2009 21:43

Number shark is excellent - ICT programme. £60ish though.

Hebble · 21/02/2009 21:44

Have a numberline infront of you to count up or back on

BonsoirAnna · 21/02/2009 21:45

Just practise all the time with household objects, people in the house etc - how many feet around the table at supper? How many if mummy and daddy go away? Etc

gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 21:47

we also teach it on a number line, as 'counting back' - for example get a ruler. put your finger on the [first] number, say 10-3 is the sum.
she puts her finger on the 10 to start. then you count TAKE AWAY ONE, moving "downwards" to the 9, then count TWO, moving downwards to the 8, then count THREE moving to the 7. Heavens for something so simple in practice this is really difficult to explain!! does that make any sense at all?
This comes after the counting 'stuff' stage for my lot, but they have SEN so I don't know what's the norm in mainstream apart from what my dses come home with, which to be fair seems quite similar.

gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 21:48

hebble put it so much more simply!

cascade · 21/02/2009 21:51

My dd plays on a website called mathletics. The school subscribed to it, every child has a password to play. The site is brilliant, my dd is obsessed with it.She gets to play with children from all over the world. Her number work has come on in leaps and bounds. For example when she first started playing in december she could answer 8 questions in 1 minute (adding and subtracting to 10) now she averages 25-30 answers in a minute. Shes in year 1 same as your dd.

Hebble · 21/02/2009 21:54

That could be because I'm on maternity leave so brain not full of school jargon!! Back to work in 2 weeks so could all change

gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 22:00

hebble - wixhing you good luck (and lots of lucozade) for your return

We use mathletics too - but the dses are in Y3 and reception, they need to have the basics before they hit that as it's more practice than concept-building. Hope I don't sound like i'm shooting the idea down, I'm not, honestly?! I just think that they need the practical version to be in their heads before they hit the computer with it

cascade · 21/02/2009 22:08

gigglewitch yes you are right, Ive spent many a half hour explaining, or playing with her. They do have the whole year 1 curriculum on there as well, with lots of games for each area of maths.

imaginaryfriend · 21/02/2009 22:17

But can you go to mathletics without a password? I've been using 'tutpup' a website that does basic addition and subtraction and dd's very good with addition but hasn't a clue with the subtraction.

So counting backwards is the way it's normally done in school? Even if the sum is 15 take away 11? You'd still count back 11 rather than count on from 11 to 15?

OP posts:
gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 23:12

check it out with mainstream teachers, but initially you have to be totally literal about the concept, and if 'subtract' means counting backwards, even 391 steps then that's what to do, in my line of work. If you are teaching her the other way of in effect 'finding the difference' between two numbers, then that comes a little later and perhaps shouldn't be involved initially as it is more likely to confuse her. If you give a single 'rule'(for want of a word) and 'take away' always means remove stuff or count backwards, then the concept will become solid. Time for clever tricks later, imo

gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 23:13

err, and no I think the school has to register with Mathletics to get the children in.
Suggest it to the teacher or headteacher?

cherryblossoms · 21/02/2009 23:35

Gigglewitch - when would you suggest introducing the idea of "number bonds" for the number 10? And when would that be a good idea for the concept of subtracting 13 from 15?

And is there a good way of talking about tens and units?

[Sorry for jumping in on this thread but dd and I have been talking about subtraction this half term and I noticed she was very wibbly about subtaction, along with the whole concept of tens.

I've been using a number line that I made - a laminated piece of paper I wrote the numbers up to a hundred on ... .]

gigglewitch · 21/02/2009 23:58

oh my goodness don't please please take my word for anything, I've told you I work in SEN....

fwiw (and if anyone else toddles in then disregard this lot please) it's developmental. ds1 got the idea of number bonds halfway through yr 2 (late) and ds2 gets it now - after 1.5 terms in reception (early i think) so perhaps late reception to Y1 is more average?
again we do/did it with heaps of 'stuff' - get ten 'whatevers' and put all ten in one heap. move one on to a mat / different carpet / do boats into the bath, count how many in the 'new heap' and how many in the 'still here' heap. I do this at a point soon after they have a reasonable grasp of addition, using random numbers up to 10, without the desperate need to count every digit on their number line or fingers. erm if that makes sense. perhaps more a case of 'try it anyway' and see what they make of it. Chances are it is a game, moving things from here to there (fabulous way of getting stuff tidied back into their boxes) which means it's fun, which means they learn it without really realising it.
And when that translates into the 13 and 15 thing, erm I honestly don't know, my lot are far too literal for that.

With my own dc, and at work too, we use 'zones' to teach HTU place value. Colour coded mostly. columns of each colour, ask the child what colours make most sense to them. some pick traffic light colours, ds1 gets them 'warmer' as they go higher, thus hundreds is red, tens orange and units yellow. well it makes sense to him anyway at home we use lego, duplo and megablocks to do it, understanding that ten lego bricks = 1 duplo brick. at work we have the 'Base ten' blocks. physically put the blocks on the different coloured columns to show the number in each one. Essentially it is an abstract concept to be learned by children who have little abstract thinking experience so the answer is to make it as concrete - well as practical as possible. single malteser, bag of maltesers, box of maltesers would be my idea of a cool lesson

Mainstream primary teachers, where are you all when we need you???

cherryblossoms · 22/02/2009 00:03

Don't worry, Gigglewitch!

You're good!

Am loving the maltesers idea.

cazzybabs · 23/02/2009 22:31

I work with Year 1 and everything gigglewitch says is FAB.

make sure you pratise counting backwards in 1s, 10s, 2, 5s etc

make sure sums are practical...use apparatus

try to do it in real life as much as possible

I do number bonds to 10 every week with my class

tens and units we use deans apparatus

souvenir · 23/02/2009 23:00

Message withdrawn

gigglewitch · 24/02/2009 17:08

thank you!

deans blocks are the same idea as base ten block things I linked to - they have a repertoire of names

arcticwind · 24/02/2009 23:49

Our dc's school teach subtraction as being the opposite of addition - not entirely sure how but they write up two sums eg 10+6=16 is the same as 16-10=6 and teach them that as one strategy.

Numbers bonds to 5 are Ok for Yr1 but anything higher tends to be covered in Yr2. I would not worry to be honest - puting too much presure on now could be counter productive - my dd (Yr3) is 'useless' at maths (I am a mathematician so it is instinctive to me but not for her) but I have lkeft it to school and she is now really doing well becasue they have focussed on the basics for so long that her background knowledge is so sound. Ds (Yr2) is different - concepts are easy to him (he understands and uses negative numbers correctly ) but he really does not care about basic sums so just guesses whereas dd will stop to work it out.

I would not worry about place value (HTU)at this stage - very few Yr1s get it - they definitly do that in Yr2. Our school have a fantastic 100 square they use in Yr2 which you could get if you reallywanted and they play all sorts of games with it - adding 1 or 2 or 5 etc then moving up in 10's etc - the square really helps them understand the relationship between numbers

if she is not keen on simple maths try working on more practical concepts like time or money - dd has always been a whizz with those and loves the confidence it gives her

imaginaryfriend · 26/02/2009 12:18

Thanks, those are useful tips.

Dd is able to subtract when it's small numbers. She counts back on her fingers if it's say, -3. I think she can do this up to about -5 but after that she forgets how many fingers she's holding up and how far back to count!

OP posts:
mollythetortoise · 26/02/2009 20:34

i would second buying a 100 square - basically all the numbers 1-100 in a squa
re. Amazon sell them for about £3. Stick on fridge and then ask questions about it . you can see the patterns between the numbers. we play a game where i am thinking of a number and give her a couple of clues e.g it is an even number/ it is a number in the 30's/ it is 2 less than 38 and she can guess which number it is by looking at square and working it out. lots more you can do tooe.g counting in 2's / 5's / 10's etc

Hulababy · 26/02/2009 20:39

Make her a 10x10 number square (Sparklebox may have some to print)

Start with counting backwards (anything from 1-9) literally count backwards on the number square, folling it with her finger all the way.

When she is happy with that look at counting back 10. Show her by counting backwards 10, one by one. The show her where that is on the number square in relation to the original number - ie directly above it. Show her the pattern of the number (i.e 32-10 = 22) The 10s digit changes, to show 1 ten has been taken away.

You can then look at taking away multiples of 10 using the number square by going up the line.

Finally do numbers such as 12, 34, etc. Teach her to "explode" the number isto 10s and units. So 34 is 30 and 4. Then she can subtract the 30 (going up 3 on the number square) and then back for the 4 units.

piscesmoon · 26/02/2009 20:41

Free games on here
ict games

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