I’ve spent a lot of time tutoring kids in the lower elementary grades. We’ve worked on math a lot.
Time after time, I’ve seen understanding click as soon as I introduced math manipulatives. And, you’ll see it click as soon as you introduce subtraction with manipulatives. Being able to physically touch and see your math problems makes math much more real.
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Why You Should Use Math Manipulatives
Using math manipulatives is a great way to work on counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Your child’s fingers will work to move the items. Their eyes will see and make connections. Suddenly a math concept becomes much more clear.
Math manipulatives is a great hands-on way to learn math and understand the concepts.
And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to find these manipulatives. It can be as simple as pulling out the stockpile of buttons or emptying the change jar. You just need something small that you have a lot of.
How To Get Started With Subtraction Using Manipulatives
First, you’ll need some subtraction problems. Write them down on some index cards. You can write random problems or choose any group of subtraction facts that your child needs to work on.
Then, you’ll also need some math manipulatives. Choose something small like rocks, mini erasers, buttons, or even LEGO blocks. You just want to make sure you have enough loose parts to work each of your subtraction problems.
Subtraction With Loose Parts
Using loose parts helps a child easily see and better understand how subtraction works.
Start with the first number in your subtraction problem and count out that many items. Next, remove the amount of your second number in your math problem. Count up the remaining items and you have the answer to your subtraction problem.
Work through all your subtraction problems using your math manipulatives.
Other Way to Do Subtraction with Manipulatives:
*Use larger numbers. You don’t have to keep your subtraction problems under ten.
*When your child is more comfortable doing subtraction, have them find the answer in their head and then count out the correct number of loose parts for their answer.
*Use this method for doing subtraction on the go. Use rocks, sticks, acorns, or other natural items as your loose parts.
*Take this math activity outside and write your subtraction problems on the sidewalk with chalk. Have your child find the loose parts they need to solve each problem.
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You’ll Love These Math Manipulatives
There is such a wealth of fine motor math manipulatives. Check out some of these options you can use for practicing math, subtraction, and more.