Q&A #522

Teaching subtraction

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From: Judy (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Aug 27, 1998 at 17:38:14
Subject: Re: Teaching subtraction

I am assuming that you are trying to teach this to young children.  With that
assumption, I will proceed with the story that I use to teach this skill to
my students.

If you have zero of something you cannot share, and everyone likes to share
and be good friends.  So "zero ones" goes next store to borrow from "tens" so
he has something to share and can do his job.  Since "tens" has nothing he
goes over to the "hundreds' house who can share.  Once he has something, he
runs home, calls "ones" with the good news and "ones" comes over to borrow so
he can go back home and do his job.

I know it's a silly story but my children have always loved it.  I let them
act it out which adds to the impression and learning.  A good side feature,
they are learning about being good neighbors and sharing.   Adapt the story
to fit your needs.  This may be beyond mathematically explicit, but the point
is made.  Later on you can go back and put it in place value terms.  Good

 -Judy, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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