Subtraction Roll

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Students will subtract one from a given number.

Big Idea

Kindergartners love working with math tools! At this station, students use die to roll a subtraction problem to solve.


10 minutes

This is an activity that I use as one of my math stations, so there is not a formal introduction to this lesson. The stations are very briefly discussed at the beginning of the week. This takes approximately 10 minutes. I am fortunate to have a para-pro and parent helper each day of the week during my station time, so  they are able to assist students, keep them on task, and work with them at stations. With 3 adults in the room, instructions are able to be brief, as anyone who is having difficulty will be noticed. My station activities always target skills that we are currently learning or have previously learned.

During station time, my students are broke into 2 groups (12 students in each group- totaling 24). On Mondays & Wednesdays, group 1 is working on stations, while group 2 is using technology. Technology includes i Pads, and lap tops. On Tuesdays & Thursdays, group 2 is working on stations, while group 1 is using technology. Fridays are free choice. All students use technology and re-visit any of their favorite stations from the week. I have included a picture of my schedule that is displayed in my classroom.

Subtraction Roll

15 minutes

I came across this station idea on the webpage: Moore Fun in First Grade.

Each of my stations can have up to four students, so I set this up as a partner station. I instructed students that 1 person would roll the die, both students would fill in the number on their recording sheets, and the student who rolled would figure out the difference to fill in. Then the other child would roll. The partners would continue taking turns rolling until the recording sheet was all filled in.

If the timing did not work out where a student would have a partner with them at the station, I instructed them to roll on their own until another student joined the station.

I really like this station because students are using their counting and one-to-one correspondence skills with the die. Of course it is great subtraction practice too! 

I also like this station because it was easy to adjust for my learners. Students who struggle with subtraction were just given one die to roll, meaning their highest digit would be 6. Students who had more solid subtraction skills were given 2 die to roll, making their highest digit 12. Many students built in some automaticity too. If they had previously rolled 5 to make 5-1, they were able to instantly remember the difference was 4.

I have included a student video. This student struggles with subtraction, and you will notice he uses crayons to help him solve the subtraction. I have taught my students for both addition and sutbraction, they should use whatever is available to help them solve a problem. Many of my students will grab crayons to help them in these situations.