Do you find that your students have difficulty explaining the way to solve an addition problem?

According to John Van De Walle, “Research has demonstrated that children will invent a lot of different strategies for addition and subtraction. Your goal (as an educator) might be that each of your children has at least one or two methods that are reasonably efficient, mathematically correct, and useful with lots of different numbers.”

In addition, the Standards of Mathematical Practice state that we should provide students opportunities to make choices and try out potential solution paths to answer problems. When teaching, let’s first question students to see how they would solve a problem.

If we notice that they can only describe a procedure using the traditional algorithm (“carry the one”), we can step in and encourage them to try some additional addition strategies that build base ten understanding. These strategies develop deeper conceptual understanding and reinforce the use of mental math. One such strategy is modeled below:

Using the partial sums strategy allows the students the opportunity to add the numbers based on their place. Add the tens with the tens and the ones with the ones. In this way, the students can see that adding 7 + 9 yields 16. Thus our students notice that the 1 in 16 is represents ten. This strategy works to reinforce and support place value.

I want to encourage you to try using various addition strategies with your students that support base ten understanding and connect numbers.

Download the FREE addition strategies resource and use it with your children.

Greg.

Julie Gauthier says

Hi Greg –

Thanks so much for the post! It certainly helped a lot. Do you know of a resource that you can recommend I read that would explain the reasoning behind a variety of strategies for all 4 operations? Looking forward to your reply.

Thanks!

TheElementary MathManiac says

Great post! This gives me another resource to share with reluctant colleagues when I start talking about the benefits of students thinking about the math they are asked to do rather than just doing it. I have spent a great deal of time over the last 3 years convincing teachers, students and parents that there are many ways to think about addition and subtraction that are more flexible and just as efficient as the traditional algorithm.

Tara

The Math Maniac

The Trapped Librarian says

Thanks for sharing this freebie! These posters are perfect for teaching students addition strategies!

PAWSitively Teaching says

Greg,

What an amazing resource! This is exactly what my second graders are working on now. Thanks for sharing your talents!

Lisa

PAWSitively Teaching