Lesson plan

Whole Body Subtraction

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

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)
  • 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.
(5 minutes)
  • Draw a number line up to 20 on the board.
  • Write the subtraction problem 10-5= __ on the board.
  • Model aloud how to solve the problem. Point out the subtraction sign and remind you students that subtraction means taking away. Use the number line to start at 10 and jump back 5 spaces.
(25 minutes)
  • Move the class either outside or to an indoor space large enough for all of your students to move around.
  • Lay the number cards down in order in a line.
  • Ask the students to gather in a circle around the numbers.
  • Explain to the students that you will be pulling out a subtraction flashcard and calling on a student to solve the subtraction problem using the large number line.
  • Model this activity for the students. Pull out a flashcard such as 6-3=____ and show the students how to find the number card 6 on the ground. Stand next to the number, then jump and count back three times until you land next to the number 3.
  • Call on each student so that they have a chance to partake in the activity.
  • Have students return to their seats.
(15 minutes)
  • Pass out the Easy Subtraction Under the Sea worksheets, laminated number lines, and counting blocks, if necessary.
  • Students may work in partners or groups for this activity and they should have the number line chart and access to blocks to solve the problems.
  • Enrichment: Students who finish their math page early may play the whole body subtraction game inside the classroom with peers. They may come up with their own subtraction problems from 20 or use the flashcards.
  • Support: The teacher can provide support for students who need extra assistance during the whole body subtraction game by helping them jump back the number of spaces necessary to solve their subtraction problem. During independent working time students who need extra assistance may be paired with a peer who understands the concept of subtraction well.
(5 minutes)
  • Pay close attention during the whole body subtraction game to see which students understand the concept of subtraction.
  • Rotate around during independent working time. This will help you to assess individuals, partners or groups who are struggling to solve the subtraction problems. Keep note of these students to impact your future instruction.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to pass their papers to the front.
  • Call on a few students to offer insights about the most challenging subtraction problem they encountered and the strategies they used to solve the problem.

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