Math Manipulatives and Tools for Teaching Addition and Subtraction with Regrouping

Are you using math manipulatives in your math lessons to teach new math concepts? It’s no secret that math is taught MUCH differently these days than it used to be. Whether you agree with the new teaching methods or not, it’s imperative that we teach students the WHY before we teach the HOW to give them a deeper understanding of math and number concepts. This is especially important when teaching addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Teaching math using manipulatives is a great hands-on learning strategy for students. I like to share multiple strategies with my students when it comes to learning with manipulatives and tools. Let’s dive into a few of my favorite ones for teaching addition and subtraction with regrouping with the use of manipulatives!

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Using math manipulatives is a great hands-on learning strategy for students. Let's dive into how to do this with addition and subtraction with regrouping!

Base Ten Blocks

One of the best math math manipulatives you can use when teaching addition and subtraction with regrouping is base ten blocks or place value blocks. Using base ten blocks is a fundamental strategy to help students solve mathematical problems for addition and subtraction with regrouping. These manipulatives also come in handy when teaching place value. By using this strategy, students will be able to describe what it means to regroup base-ten blocks and a sentence frame. This is an excellent way to teach math using manipulatives because as students physically move the blocks around they are able to get a more concrete understanding of this specific skill.

Base ten blocks can be used for a variety of things when it comes to addition and subtraction with regrouping! They can be used for base ten strategy, as well as, for an open number line. In the image below, students focus on “hopping” along a number line to solve for the sum of a given problem. Large hops are drawn for plus 10 and smaller hops are drawn for plus 1. Addition with Regrouping Strategies has more details on how to use this specific learning method!

Using math manipulatives to solve addition and subtraction with regrouping

Also, don’t feel like you have to use physical concrete manipulatives! Using paper drawings of base ten blocks is a great way to solve problems as well! This is a great option to allow each student to have an individual set of blocks to decrease sharing of items. Laminating these printable blocks also allows them to last longer and be wiped off with a simple Clorox wipe. These are perfect for use in small groups, math centers or independent work.

Online Math Manipulatives

In addition to paper, there are also multiple math manipulatives that you can find online for digital base ten blocks! Students can use these virtual manipulatives when solving a math problem digitally. A few options include Didax.comMathlearningcenter.org, and Coolmath4kids.com. Young children love being able to use these virtual math manipulatives while learning online.

Alternatives for Base Ten Blocks

Although base ten blocks are the most common hands-on math manipulatives for teaching children, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other math tools you can use! With online learning, base ten blocks might not always be accessible to students at home. The good news is, there are plenty of other low cost options of everyday items that students can use to learn addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Think about things that young students might already have at home and have easy access to that they can use. Items can include anything from craft supplies to food manipulatives! I’ve found that younger students actually like using unique items such as these because it doesn’t feel so much like schooling. Incorporating fun hands-on manipulatives can help lessen the load of school “work”, all while still learning! It’s a win-win for everyone!

Here are a few examples:

Food math manipulatives can include snacks and candy! Younger children will LOVE using fun snacks to complete their math work.

  • Hundreds: Crackers or Cheez-It’s
  • Tens: Pretzel Sticks or Twizzlers
  • Ones: Mini marshmallows, Skittles, M&M’s, Jelly Beans, or Tic Tacs
Teaching math using manipulatives is a great hands-on learning strategy for students. Let's dive into how to do this with regrouping!

As for craft supplies, the possibilities for the use of math manipulatives are endless!

Try using  subtraction cards to practice three-digit subtraction with regrouping. In Subtraction with Regrouping Strategies, I share different ways and strategies to solve for both two and three-digit subtraction. These strategies will lead your young mathematicians to finding an answer and understanding the why behind the process.

These are just a few ways to teach using math manipulatives when it comes to addition and subtraction with regrouping! If you need a basic ten frame and hundreds chart to start with you can grab this FREE one HERE on my store! Print on a colored piece of paper, laminate, and use over and over again! This is a great option for distance learning with little learners!

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Teaching math using manipulatives is a great hands-on learning strategy for students. Let's dive into how to do this with regrouping!
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