Smarties Subtraction Game - an early years lessson

Using concrete materials in the Early Years is great to assist students because grasping new math concepts can be tricky! Materials like Unifix cubes, blocks, teddies and counters work brilliantly. However, if you’re after something a little bit more engaging – try SMARTIES!! Introducing… My Smarties Subtraction Game!

Make Subtraction GAMES FUN with Smarties!

We introduced subtraction to our little ones this week. And what better way to do it than with some chocolate buttons – because sugar!!
This Smarties Subtraction lesson worked a treat! :P (pun intended!)

Here’s what we did:

I gave each student a box of Smarties. Then I asked them to lay them all out in a row and count how many there were in their box. Each box of mini smarties contains a varying number of Smarties (usually 11 – 13). However, this worked well as it meant most students worked more independently as they had different number of Smarties to their neighbour. 


Children recorded the total number of Smarties that they had in their box and were then allowed to eat a few (because they probably had sneakily done it already!) I then asked them to count how many were remaining and record this using a subtraction number sentence. (Shown below)
Students continued eating their Smarties and recorded their number sentences until there were none left. FUN RIGHT??!!!


Following this lesson, we then discussed our findings and described what subtraction actually is and what happens to numbers when we subtract. Ie: the number gets smaller. 
We practised creating subtraction number sentences as a class on whiteboards and discussed what each part of the number sentence represents. 

Subtraction Strategies

This is a great opportunity to share with students the various subtraction strategies that can be used to help solve subtraction problems. Materials such as hundreds charts and a number lines are other things we can use to assist in ‘Counting Back’ as well as the ‘Jump Method’. 
maths-posters maths-posters 
I plan to revisit these strategies over the next few lessons. However, I will definitely go into more detail throughout the rest of the term. As I introduce and model each new strategy, I always make sure they have a visual in the classroom. This is so it can be referred to when the children are working independently. I ensure I introduce and display each strategy one at a time because I want to ensure they are not overwhelmed. 
If you’re looking for Maths Posters and more – you can’t go past my Maths Posters bundle!! It includes 12 posters to see you through all of your Numeracy lessons throughout the year!


I hope you and your little learners have as much for as we did, playing the Smarties subtraction game! Leave a comment below with any other great games your students have loved!!


Smarties Subtraction Game - an early years lessson - Miss Jacobs Little Learners


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