Sunday 18 May 2014


Montessori Activity: Subtraction Board (减法[jiǎn fǎ])


AGE: From 4.5 years old


To teach counting and subtraction of the unit place value in a concrete manner seeing the minuend and then taking away the subtrahend:

- Minuend (被减数 [bèi jiǎn shù]): the first number in a subtraction (a quantity or number from which another is to be subtracted).
- Subtrahend (减数 [jiǎn shù]): the second number in a subtraction (the number to be subtracted)
- Difference (剩[Shèng])


1. Homemade Addition Board using drawing block and green ribbon, green being the Montessori color for subtraction and making sure that your child associates the color of green with subtraction
2. 1 cup with glass pebbles
3. 1 set of number cards or number tiles (optional)
4. 1 set of equation cards (optional, you can also write the equation on a piece of paper)
5. 1 subtraction worksheet/paper, 1 pencil and eraser
6. 1 mat


1. Lay out the materials on the table.

2. Explain that addition means putting things together and subtraction means taking them apart.

3. Read the problem to your child, e.g. 7-5=?

4. Have your child place 7 pebbles onto the minuend section on the subtraction board counting them as you go along. Then point to the number 7 in the problem and say, "You have 7 pebbles." Place the number tile 7 below the pebbles.

6. Transfer 5 pebbles from the minuend to the subtrahend section counting them as you go along, point to the number 5 in the problem and say, "You took away 5 of them. Place the number tile 5 below the pebbles.

8. Ask, "How many pebbles do you have left?"

9. Transfer the 2 pebbles from the minuend to the difference section, counting them as you go along and say, "You have 2 pebbles left. We say 7 take away 5 equal 2." Place number tile 2 below the pebbles.

10. Ask your child to repeat the problem and answer, saying "7-5=2" and write the answer on the worksheet.

11. Repeat this process with other subtraction problems.



J tried this on 17 May 2014 (5y2m12d) for the first time. He was able to do them. We continued with this activity every day. However, J prefers the Singapore Maths Assessment book though to this Montessori subtraction board... children can be very different. It doesn't matter which method as long as they are learning. J had fun coloring the answer from the Singapore Maths Assessment book (so black and white pages can be a blessing after all.)


18 May 2014 (5y2m12d)

19 May 2014 (5y2m14d)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Favourite Books

Montessori Materials