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What can I do to help my 1st grader with math concepts...specifically addition and subtraction??

My daughter is struggling with math concepts of addition and subtraction. Her teacher keeps sending home flash cards and telling us she needs to know these off the top of her head, but how can I get her to learn them? She gets frustrated. I need some ideas for helping her. Thanks!

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:02 PM on Jan. 8, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (10)
  • maybe she likes hands on concepts
    try showing her how to add and subtract using objects
    dry beans, fruit, cereal, her toys

    Answer by DomoniqueWS at 10:03 PM on Jan. 8, 2010

  • when I was little, money helped. either real or that play money you can get.

    like give her $10, tell her to subtract/take away $3, ask what she has left.

    kids are pretty visual, so actually seeing it with objects helps.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:04 PM on Jan. 8, 2010

  • Use pennies or our absolute favorite. Candy. M and M's or Starburst. Separate the colors. Count. Add colors. Subract....
    If I have 19 blue m and ms and 6 green ones and 4 red ones. What happens when I eat the red ones? How many do I have left? (Save the eating till the end because after they eat some they will lose interest.) We did this twice a week for one month and my kids learned the double facts and double plus one facts. It works!

    Answer by Whatkids at 10:13 PM on Jan. 8, 2010

  • drawing pictures

    Answer by mommymeg03 at 12:23 AM on Jan. 9, 2010

  • Look up for the Focus Formula by Native Remedies ,they also have Bright sparks

    Answer by ravenausa at 9:46 AM on Jan. 9, 2010

  • I used Goldfish and M&M's to teach mine how to add and subtract. In first grade, some kids don't always memorize the math facts as easily as others. My youngest son doesn't. I don't worry about it ( we homeschool) I got him a different curriculum recently which helps him learn his math facts easier, by doing "fact families". Also, he plays alot of online math games. Check out these websites.

    And here's another one

    Answer by Bethsunshine at 10:15 AM on Jan. 9, 2010

  • Here is a website I like because it is simple and quick!

    Using manipulatives like blocks, pennies, etc is great for getting the concept-then the above is great for really getting it drilled in.

    Answer by justmyopinion at 10:30 AM on Jan. 9, 2010

  • Does she not understand the concept of addition and subtraction, or does she just not have her facts memorized?

    If she can use her fingers to add and subtract, but it takes too long, she has the concept. In that case she just needs practice. Flash cards work great if you use them correctly. The big mistake people make with them is using too many at once. You should only use 5-7 at a time and review those for 2 or 3 days until she knows them by heart. Then swap a couple of them for new ones. That way she can keep reviewing the ones she knows and learn a couple new ones each day. Also, have her say the problem and the answer aloud when you show her the card. Then you repeat the whole thing so she hears it again.  Keep rotating the cards and putting in ones she's already memorized to make sure she keeps them memorized. For the typical kid- it takes about a month to get the bulk of the facts memorized.


    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 11:56 AM on Jan. 9, 2010

  • If she can't add or subtract even wither her fingers, then don't start with the flash cards. She needs to work hands on with maniplulatives to understand that she is putting groups together or taking away from a group. Using Cheerios or Goldfish crackers is fun because she can eat them to practice subtraction. That really solidly enforces the concept of taking away.  Once she gets better at doing problems with manipulatives show her how she can use her fingers to replace the items. If she can count on her fingers then she can start with the flashcards.

    Good Luck!


    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 12:01 PM on Jan. 9, 2010

    Click on math and then MathBlox. That game is kind of like a modified Tetris but with learning your math facts. My son loves it, and he's learning his facts the whole time.

    Answer by 0123456 at 3:43 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

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