August 28, 2015
by Linda F. McGrue

Lesson plan

Basic Subtraction with Marshmallows

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Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to illustrate the operation of subtraction with answers of 10 or less.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell the students that today they will continue learning how to subtract.
  • Remind them that subtract means to take away, and the number that is left is called the difference.
(10 minutes)
  • Show the subtraction flashcards to the students. Read the subtraction problems together. For example, 7 - 3.
  • Point out to the students that the second number tells how much to take away from the first number.
  • Count out and place 7 cubes where all students can see them.
  • Ask the students how many cubes there are and how many to take away.
  • Remove three cubes. Ask the students how many cubes remain.
  • Repeat the problem and answer for the students, pointing out that there are 4 remaining cubes.
  • Choose another subtraction card and continue in the same manner as the previous problem.
(15 minutes)
  • Pair students together.
  • Give each pair 10 cubes and 2 subtraction flashcards.
  • Instruct them to select one card and read the subtraction problem they see.
  • Have them count out the number of cubes that represents the first number.
  • Tell the students to find the number that is being taken away, and remove that number of cubes.
  • Ask them to tell each other how many they have left.
  • Tell them to read the subtraction problem on their flashcards with the answer.
  • Direct your students to continue in the same manner with the other subtraction flashcard.
(15 minutes)
  • Give each student a paper plate and cup filled with 10 miniature marshmallows.
  • Pass out four flashcards to each pair.
  • Ask your students to choose one flashcard and read it to their partners.
  • Instruct the other partner to count out the number of marshmallows they will need to depict the number that represents how many there are in all.
  • Have your students take away the second number and identify the answer to the subtraction problem.
  • Direct your students to complete the rest of the problems on their own.
  • Enrichment: Give students index cards to write down each subtraction problem. Then, have them flip the cards over and write a fact family. For example, have them write 7 - 3 = 4 on the front and then 7 - 4 = 3 on the back.
  • Support: Give students subtraction flashcards with the answers on the back so that they can check their answers.
(10 minutes)
  • Give the students the Let's Practice Subtraction worksheet.
  • Collect and check the answers.
(5 minutes)
  • Remind the students of the steps they used when subtracting the cubes and marshmallows.
  • Eat some marshmallows!

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