Teaching Addition and Subtraction Facts in First Grade

This post is meant for first graders learning basic addition and subtraction facts suited for VA SOL 1.5:  The student will recall basic addition facts with sums to 18 and the corresponding subtraction facts.  The following books may be useful in teaching this topic to students.

Text Annotations:


The Action of Subtraction by Brian Cleary and illustrated by Brian Gable is a kid friendly resource that describes to students the meaning of subtraction by giving several examples which are easy to understand.  The text explains that “Subtraction is an action that will make your total less.”  It explains the term “minus,” and that “is” means “equals” in their number sentences. 


Mission Addition written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy provides excellent pictures and child friendly examples.  It explains the terms “addends” and “sum” in simple language.  This resource asks students questions throughout and the answers are provided at the end of the book.

55302772_a.jpgYou Can, Toucan, Math written by David Adler and illustrated by Edward Miller, is a colorful fun book for kids.  This resource reviews addition, subtarction, multiplication, and division.  This text provides examples of addition and subtraction for children utilizing problems involving toucans, pelicans, and hens.


Domino Addition by Lynette Long, would be an excellent resource for teachers who have lesson plans involving dominos.  This text would be a great way to introduce domino use in the classroom.  It demonstrates how adding the amounts on the top and bottom half of dominos can give kids the total number.


 Math Potatoes, written by Greg Tang and illustrated by Harry Briggs, is a highly interactive text for students.  The author offers riddles which pose a problem to the students, offering them helpful hints along the way.  Students who find ways to group numbers will find their answers much easier!  At the end of the text, the author provides answers and tells students helpful ways to solve each problem. 

Web Annotations:

Basic Addition Facts Exercise: This website provides an interactive game for students in which they count how many bugs, snails, etc on two leaves.  The the animals move to the third leaf and the students add to get the total.

UFO Mystery: This interactive game for students ask them to click on a UFO on the right side and then click the right answer.  After students answer all the items correctly they see what is hidden.

Sum Sense: Single Digit Subtraction: In this interactive activity, students drop number cards into a number sentence to make “sum sense.”

Hidden Picture: This interactive game provides students with answers to addition equations and asks them to select the appropriate number sentence to reveal a hidden picture of an iceberg.

Rabbit Takeaway: In this interactive activity, students are shown rabbits on the screen and asked to type in the answer when a certain number of rabbits is taken away.  This game has two levels.

Additional Resources:

Add it Up Lesson Plan: This lesson plan is designed to teach students to use manipulatives to solve addition problems while recognizing the symbols of addition and equal value.

Center Activities: This website provides students the ability to practice their addition and subtraction skills by participating in center activities.  This link reviews several activities teachers can utilize as well as all of the attachments needed for each one.

Math on a Roll: This link provides activities with which students can utilize dice to build their math skills.