Lesson Plan

Whole Body Subtraction

Students will be jumping with joy after this lesson that helps them practice their subtraction skills with physical activity.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Froggy Subtraction pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Froggy Subtraction pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will have a better grasp on subtracting from 20.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
Easy Subtraction Under the SeaNumber Lines
  • Invite the students to come together.
  • Explain to students that today they will be exploring subtraction during math.
  • Ask the students what subtraction means. Call on a few students to explain.
  • Introduce the movement of bringing your hands in front of your chest in a clasp and bringing your hands behind your back in a clasp using a fluid movement as you say “Subtraction means taking away.” Invite the students to participate in this choral chant and movement.


  • Create a chart titled "Subtraction" and record student ideas as they explain the meaning of subtraction. Include examples of situations that require subtraction with subtraction equations.
  • Allow students to share their understanding of subtraction in their home language (L1) if possible.


  • Prompt students to compare and contrast addition and subtraction.
  • Define subtraction as finding the difference between two numbers. Remind students that with subtraction the whole and one part are known, and we solve for an unknown part. Provide a "whole-part-part" visual to illustrate this concept.