Teaching Addition & Subtraction

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Memorizing those addition and subtraction facts…it can be a nightmare for teachers, parents, and students alike! In my experience, the goal of every second grade teacher was for every student to finish the year with their addition and subtractions facts memorized. Then, third grade would review quickly in the beginning of the year before moving onto multiplication and division. Many, many students struggle with memorizing their addition and subtraction facts though. It’s very challenging for them. Many students and parents think they’re fine if they can add using their fingers, etc., but that’s not so. Students often rely on those fingers way too much! When they do, it becomes a major problem when trying to learn two-digit addition/subtraction, addition/subtraction when regrouping, and multiplication/division! So, we parents and teachers must work together to make sure those facts get memorized!


  • Practice math facts as much as you can. It doesn’t have to be a set aside time every day, but practice whenever you can. In the car, while shopping, taking a bath, chores, tasks around the house, etc. Work in practicing whenever possible! The more practice a child has, the better they will be!
  • In the classroom, it’s always fun to have challenges every now and then. One way is to line everyone up and work your way down the line, calling out a fact. When someone misses, they are out. Also, Math Around the World is a game kids love! Hold up a flash card for two students to compete answering. The winner goes onto the next student. They must beat everyone around the room in one turn (not stop and go) to win.
  • Incentives. Some teachers do a math fact a week (such as +0, +1, +2, etc.) and students must answer 15/25 facts in two minutes to pass. Each time they pass, they get a scoop for an ice cream cone. After 10 weeks, throw an ice cream party or give playtime outside as a reward.

Here is a list of resources:

Also, check out Primary Junction’s Pinterest Addition/Subtraction Board for many other addition/subtraction ideas.

Do you have any fun, creative ways of teaching addition/subtraction? Do you do any fun games or incentives in your classroom to get students motivated? I’d love to hear your ideas!