Maths: Beginners Subtraction

montessori subtraction

A Beginning Subtraction lesson should be presented to a child who understands the concept of numbers (from at least 1-10) and understands the concept of addition. The materials you will need are:

  • Number jars: you can use spice or jam jars (these will contain counters and equations) and are used for control of error purposes).
  • Equations: the number jar will have the appropriate number of equations, written down on coloured card. The subtraction lesson demonstrated in the below video is a “6 jar”, which will contain, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 etc.
  • Separate answers for each equation.
  • Two small shallow bowls that match.
  • One shallow bowl that does not match.
  • Counters (marbles, beads etc.): according to the number you are working with.
  • A tray.

Watch how the lesson is presented in the below video by My Montessori Works.

You’ll notice in the tutorial that the non-matching bowl is used to isolate the number that is being taken away. Also important is to recount the beads before proceeding with each equation and to reiterate the equation. We show the children each step over and over so that if they do make an error, they will be able to go back and correct the process.

An extension on this lesson is to encourage children to write down what the equations they’ve accomplished.

If you’d like further information about this tutorial, feel free to contact us at info@saintandrewsmontessori.com. We’re happy to answer any questions.