Lesson Plan

Subtraction Card Sharks

Make math fun with this lesson that has students work together to solve subtraction sentences. Students will also get a chance to practice their skills individually with a worksheet.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the What's the Difference? pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the What's the Difference? pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to increase their subtraction fluency rate as they practice their subtraction facts to 10.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that they will continue to practice their subtraction skills while playing an exciting card game.
  • Remind the students that when they subtract, they are taking away.
  • Ask them what number they write first when composing a subtraction sentence.
  • Follow up by asking them what sign comes next, then the number and the equal sign, and finally the answer.


  • Write a subtraction equation and label the parts including the minus sign and equal sign. Tell students to repeat after you, "minus sign, subtraction" and "equal sign, is the same as."
  • Write the same equation vertically. Show students how the placement of the numbers and math symbols changes. Point out that the equal sign is written as one line, and the answer appears below the equals sign. Tell students to repeat after you as you review the components of a vertical subtraction equation.


  • Teach students that when we subtract, we start with the total number, or whole, and subtract a part to solve for the an unknown part. Tell students that "unknown" means that we will not know what the number.
  • Tell students that subtraction is the inverse, or opposite of addition. Model checking a subtraction problem using addition.