With numerous methods available to parents and teachers, learning to subtract can become a struggle for children due to "too many resources." Modern textbooks now teach subtraction in several different ways. Kids are encouraged to subtract in several different ways, which is supposed to create a deeper understanding of subtraction, instead of just learning the basic skills necessary to subtract two numbers. Furthermore, the internet provides an infinite number of websites, games, worksheets, and modern techniques that will teach you thesubtraction process
. This is a confusing landscape for a 1st grader trying to learn how to subtract. Of course, if the student is up to speed, all these extra resources can keep the student interested and engaged. However, for the struggling math student, he or she would benefit from a simplified, direct approach when learning how to subtract.
Subtraction with One Method - Less is MoreLess is More
The subtraction method
on this website target struggling elementary math students that would benefit from a single, consistent approach. When children have touched on 5 ways to solve a problem, some children will undoubtedly mix up the methods and struggle to arrive at the right answer. By simplifying the process of learning subtraction, the student can first build understanding of subtraction, and then second, be able to branch out to harder subtraction problems.
As a disclaimer, this article isn't saying that this website and this subtraction technique will help every struggling student. Instead, this website applies the same consistent approach to learning subtraction in several children's subtraction videos
where the student can observe, practice, and master the technique at home or at school. This will help the student simplify the task of learning the subtraction method. This will then allow them to explore and branch out, because he or she will always have this solid technique to lean on in any unfamiliar subtraction situation.
The subtraction lessons for children on this website use the fingers while counting backwards to subtract. Subtraction Video 1
and Subtraction Video 2
introduce the subtraction method to the student. In these videos, the fingers on one hand represent the subtrahend (the amount you are taking away), and the student counts backwards from the minuend (the large number). Part 3 and part 4 continue this practice, but they have larger starting numbers and larger numbers to take away.
Once the introductory subtraction method is understood, and the students become comfortable with the action of counting backwards while tapping finders, the next videos following the same subtraction method can be introduced. In Subtraction Video 3
and Subtraction Video 4
, the student follows the same pattern. The student continues to count backwards from the large number on the fingers until all the fingers have been tapped and the answer is obtained.
The difference between the addition and subtraction methods is worth mentioning. In addition, one must change methods slightly to accommodate more difficult math problems (because the student runs out of fingers with sums greater than 10). In the subtraction method, once student understands the method, and can apply the method, he or she continues to follow the same method throughout all the videos. This consistent approach will strengthen the student's skills, and enable him or her to feel more and more comfortable with any subtraction problem.
With a firm grasp of this method, the world of subtraction will become much more manageable and less intimidating. The keys to mastering this subtraction method are active participation and repetition. By simply watching the videos, the children will not be able to apply the method to other problems. By actively engaging along with the videos, the student will begin to develop an independent understanding of the subtraction method, and he or she will be able to apply these skills individually.
More About the Subtraction MethodMore Information Regarding this Subtraction Method
Especially when learning subtraction, by making making the steps clear to the student, one can avoid some confusion and pitfalls. In the problem "9 - 4," the student will prepare to do the problem by holding up 4, and then try to count backwards starting at 9. Sometimes the students get excited, and they tap the first finger when they say "9." This will give you the wrong answer. Tell the students that 9 is the starting point, and you need to start tapping your fingers at the next number, which is 8. Then demonstrate by saying,
"9, 8(tap), 7(tap), 6(tap), 5(tap). So, the answer is 5!"
This will take the mystery out of the steps. If the large number is always the starting point, and the finger taps begin on the number *after* the starting number, then the student will be more likely to reach the right answer.
Also, if children have difficulty counting backwards, counting in a rhythm can really help the subtraction process. If you are still drawing a blank, count down from 30 to 0 every night for a week before bed, and that will help.
Find a method that works for the student, and practice, practice, practice. Then repeat. Then repeat. Then repeat.
Participate with the math videos. Have the students work with the videos. An environment of active participation
(where the student isn't self conscious about himself or herself) will create a positive spiral of engagement. If the children feel weird about participating, they can practice subtracting by themselves at home. It can be difficult to create this environment, but persistence and routine will help make this activity more acceptable. If the student knows that every Tuesday, he or she will have to practice with the videos for 10 minutes, he or she will be less likely to resist engaging in the activity.
Teach and help children with Patience, Encouragement, and Positivity (PEP). By teaching with PEP, children feel comfortable in the learning environment. They will be more willing to participate, make mistakes, and learn in such a setting. If you find yourself running out of PEP, consider looking into getting professional help. Trained professionals can help in many situations, and sometimes need to be considered when figuring out what is best for the child.