Friday 9 May 2014


Montessori Activity: Subtraction with Counters or Golden Beads - Unit Place Value (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
- Subtrahend (减数 [jiǎn shù]): the second number in a subtraction (the number to be subtracted)
- Difference (剩[Shèng])


1. 2 bowls of the same color
2. 1 bowl of a different color
3. 1 basket of 10 golden beads or counters
4. 1 subtraction symbol
5. 1 equal symbol
6. 1 subtraction worksheet
7. 1 pencil and eraser
8. 1 mat


1. Arrange the bowls in the layout below.

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

3. Read the problem to your child, e.g. 10-4=?

4. Put 10 counters into the first blue bowl counting them as you go along. Then point to the number 10 in the problem and say, "You have 10 fishes."

5. Transfer 4 from the first blue bowl to the black bowl counting them as you go along, point to the number 4 in the problem and say, "You cook 4 of them in the pot."

6. Ask, "How many fishes do you have left?"

7. Transfer 6 fishes from the first blue bowl to the second blue bowl, counting them as you go along and say, "You have 6 fishes left."

8. Say, "So if you went fishing and caught 10 fishes. You came home and cook 4 of them. You have 6 fishes left. We say 10 take away 4 equal 6."

9. Ask your child to repeat the problem and answer, saying "10-4=6" and write the answer on the worksheet.

10. Repeat this process with other subtraction problems.



This is a great, simple and clear way to teach Maths! I love it! I learned about it from My Works Montessori. I am recycling the plastic soya sauce fish containers from our takeaway sushi as counters instead of golden beads. J tried it for the first time today. Initially, he couldn't shake off addition. He needed to think what he should put into the first blue bowl. After a while, he got a hang of it and it became easier and easier for him.

9 May 2014 (5y2m4d)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Favourite Books

Montessori Materials