Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Favorite Math Lesson Of the Year

I am a sucker for sweets!  Any kind of sweet :)  Donuts are one of my favorites.  So, it's no surprise that donuts are the star of my favorite lesson!

Subtraction is one of my favorite concepts to teach to young children.  You get to take objects away and find out what is left.  What better way to help them understand the concept, than to feed donuts to an old lady.  Students are able to feed the donut manipulatives to the old lady and then move on to subtracting with a number line.  Check out "Devouring Donuts!" here.
Students will draw a subtraction sentence card and identify the largest number (minuend).  Students will place that number of donuts on the plate.  They will then feed the old lady the smaller number (subtrahend) of donuts to the old lady.  The difference will be the donuts left on the plate.
I created three different types of old ladies.  I first laminated and cut out the hole in the middle of the old lady's mouth.  I attached the old lady to a gift bag, a cereal box, and to a plastic tub.  I cut holes for the mouth in the gift bag and cereal box.  I used a razor blade to start the hole and then used scissors to finish.  I simply taped the old lady to the plastic tub. 
So easy and kids are able to actually "feed" the old lady!  I have included a recording sheet, where students will record the subtraction sentences that they completed.
There is also an anchor chart to help students remember the steps needed to subtract two numbers.
Learning subtraction on the number line is trickier.  Students are not actually taking the numbers away, but moving backwards on the number line.  I find it very helpful to provide students with a life size number line that they are able to actually move up and down.  It is wonderful for kinesthetic learners.

I included focus wands to help students really narrow their focus to a specific number.  The focus wand is also the old lady "eating" the donuts, so it helps make the concept a little more concrete.  Students will focus on two strategies for subtraction: "counting back" and "counting up".
I included an anchor chart to explain the steps for "counting back", when using a number line.  Students can refer back to the chart for help.  You can complete this activity as a whole group with the class number line and extend the learning, by letting each student use a personal number line. 
There is also an anchor chart for "counting up". 
I have included extension worksheets, where students demonstrate their understanding of "counting back" and "counting up".
I have also included many other extension worksheets to explore the concepts of equal numbers, greater than, less than, and solving subtraction sentences.  Here is an example of students finding the number that is smaller that the target number.  They will use a bingo dabber or crayon to color in the number that is smaller.  Students are able to use the number line and focus wand to assist them.
Another game that I love playing with the number lines and subtraction flash cards is "Eat 'Em Up", which is the same as the old game "War".  Students will play in pairs.  They will each flip a card at the same time, solve their subtraction sentence on the number line, and whoever has the largest difference "wins" the cards.  You can also play the same game with the large donut cards (from the number line).  Make a set for each student and they can explore the concepts of greater and less than.
I also wanted to share my "New Old Lady"!  She is much more durable than the cereal box old lady.  I used an Oxi-Clean box, which is much thicker cardboard.  I laid the old lady on top of the box and cut out the shape of the mouth.
Cut it out.
Covered in scrapbook paper.
Used Velcro to keep the top shut.
 Last, I hot glued the old lady to the box.  She is ready to go and SO durable.  Your kids can really "play" with this toy and it should survive. :)
I have a donut missing addends freebie to tempt you without adding any calories to your diet!  Click here to get your freebie.  Delicious donuts with NO guilt!!
There are other donut games here!  Delicious Donuts: Roll, Add and Cover.
 Get a donut freebie here!
Get a free subitizing template here!  See this blog post to see the magnetic subitizing board in action and ideas on how to use it!
I hope you found some fun ideas!  I teamed up with Teaching Momster for her "Math Madness Wednesday".  Be sure to head over to her blog to see all the "favorite" lessons for the year!
I linked up with:
Freebie Fridays


  1. I am SO glad you linked up with this lesson! It is definitely memorable! I bet the kids LOVE feeding the "old lady" donuts. :)

    Teaching Momster

    1. Thanks, Krista! I love your Math Madness Wednesdays! There are so many great ideas there :) Thanks for all your hard work in hosting!!

  2. Muchas Gracias, me encantó la viejita para enseñar a restar ! Dios te bendiga

  3. Muchas Gracias, me encantó la viejita para enseñar a restar ! Dios te bendiga


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