Draw & Subtract

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Students will fluently subtract within 10.

Big Idea

Wibbly the Pig and some marbles, help make this subtraction lesson an engaging experience.


10 minutes

This math lesson begins with students seated on the carpet for a story. I have chosen to read the picture book, Wibbly Pig has 10 Balloons. This story covers basic subtraction skills as Wibbly gives away his balloons, beginning with 10 and going down. As I am reading, I prompt students with questions such as, "How many balloons does Wibbly have now?"

My students enjoy this story. I like reading the book because it becomes an interactive read-aloud, and gets my students in math mode.


15 minutes

To begin the mini-lesson, I gather students in front of the white board. To this point, we have been using unifix cubes as our manipulatives for subtraction. I wanted to switch it up for my students, by using marbles today. Even a minor change from cubes to marbles gets my students hooked and ready to hear more about today's activity.

Today's assignment comes from my Houghton Mifflin workbook. I have chosen this activity because my students are required to draw pictures that correspond with the given number sentence. I have some students that are strong enough to complete the subtraction mentally, however most of my students benefit greatly from having a visual with the drawings.

I call students up to assist me with the first two problems. These students are chosen from popsicle sticks with names written on them. As we complete a problem, I will guide my students with questions. For example, I would ask, "How many marbles should we begin with?" "How many marbles are we taking away?"

This task requires students to draw their marbles, cross out the amount being taken away, and write the difference. After we complete two problems together, students are ready to work independently.

Independent Work

15 minutes

Students head back to their tables to complete this assignment independently. Before I pass out marbles to each table, we have a quick discussion about the expectations for using marbles. This is addressed in my reflection.

I have a group of students that I need to sit with at a small group to complete this activity. These students are struggling with how many marbles to begin with. For example 5-3, the children were beginning with 3 marbles. I had to reinforce that the first numeral in the problem is always how many to start with.

I have included a student video. I love this video because this student made up his very own story problem to match the number sentence.