Whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow today, Brick Math has a great lesson to help kids understand what subtraction is all about. The lesson is called "Missing Term Subtraction," and it uses both LEGO® bricks and pencil and paper to give students the perfect hands-on process for understanding subtraction.
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This method shows students how to invent strategies to solve math problems, which is a skill they need to learn early and practice often. Here, they'll use what they know about addition to solve the subtraction problem.
This lesson uses a subtraction diagram, which is in the Student Workbook pages. It reinforces the vocabulary of minuend, subtrahend, and difference. Print out the Student pages so your student(s) can actually place their bricks on the paper diagram.
You'll guide the student(s) through the subtraction of 12 - 4 during this lesson. They'll place bricks in the diagram and develop their own ways to show the solution of 8. One way to show the solution is illustrated here. After students model with bricks, always follow up by having them draw their models and explain in words what they have done. In that way, you'll help them solidify their learning.
Brick Math is a K-6 math curriculum that uses LEGO® bricks to model 11 different math subjects:
Counting, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Basic Fractions, Basic Measurement, Fraction Multiplication, Fraction Division, Advanced Measurement and Geometry, and Decimals. It works well for homeschooling, math intervention, enrichment, and as a whole-school program. Materials are simple and are not shared between students. It adapts easily to online instruction.
If you teach math or have a student at home who is learning math, check brickmath.com. The website includes videos for both teacher training and direct instruction of students. You can learn more about how Brick Math improves student math test scores and hear what people who are using Brick Math have to say about the program.