Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Math mats are a “hands on” way to give children concrete experiences with addition and subtraction. 

Directions: Trim a file folder to make a 12” square. Draw a line down the middle of the square as shown. Draw a line down the middle of the top section. Explain that the line in the middle is like the equal sign in an equation. What is on the top has to equal (be the same as) what is on the bottom.

Note! Poker chips, small toys, natural items, small erasers, and other objects can be used with the math mat. You can also make smaller math mats from an 8" square.

Demonstrate how to use counters to make a set in the top left section and a set in the top right section. Count. Pull down the objects into the bottom section and count how many altogether.

Use counters to demonstrate subtraction.

Missing Addend
”If I have 3 and I want 8, how many more do I need? Let’s put 8 in the bottom. Now, move 3 to the top. How many more do you think I’ll need?” Continue to let children move the counters to solve similar problems.

Note! Have children write the number sentence when you do these activities.


Hint! You can also use divided plates for adding and subtracting 2 numbers. Children will “eat this up” with dry cereal!

Ten Frame
Five, ten, and twenty frames are available to download on the internet.

Building Sets
Call out a number and demonstrate how to place the counters in the frame starting on the left. Remind them to always start with the first frame on the left.

*Turn the frame vertically to make sets.
*Can you place the counters in a different way?
*Have children count forwards and backwards on their frames.

Rock and Roll
Children take one or two dice, roll them, and build that amount on their frame.

Show a numeral or dot card. Challenge children to make the set on their frame.

Add and Remove

Have students fill up their frame with counters. Call out a number. Can they remove counters or add counters to build the new number?

Addition and Subtraction
Place counters for the first addend on the top row and the second addend in the bottom row. How many altogether?
*Take away counters for subtraction problems.

Double Frames
Extend to a double ten frame for building numbers to 20.

Giant Ten Frame
Draw a large ten frame on the sidewalk with chalk. Let children stand in the frames to make sets, add, subtract, etc.

*Make a giant ten frame on the floor in your classroom with tape or use a shower curtain liner to make a giant frame.