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# It’s Shark Teeth SUBTRACTION!!! (FREEBIE!)

Ever wondered what could be better than Shark Teeth Addition?  You’ll never guess: it’s Shark Teeth SUBTRACTION!!!!  LOL!  I decided it was time to take that fun idea full circle and turn that addition activity into a subtraction one.  If that sounds like a math activity your kids would enjoy, then read on! (I’ll give you a FREE sample to download!)

Shark Teeth Subtraction is a fun activity to help children practice beginning subtraction skills. It can be done in either a small or large group setting. These worksheets and workmats are organized so that you can teach children to practice finding differences from three or four first, then five, six, and so on up to ten. I recommend that you begin with the smallest numbers first (differences from three and four) and then work your way up to the larger numbers.

Preparation:

Note: The best way to teach any math concept is to start with manipulatives, and then move to pictures, and then transfer that to the symbolic level. So I would recommend that you give the children the workmats with ZERO teeth, and have them put little blocks down on the mouth for the teeth. The green, triangular pattern blocks should work well! Once they have placed the correct amount of blocks down, they can subtract the given number, and then write the equation on the workmat. (Or you can write it for them as they watch, depending on their level.)

I recommend that you duplicate the workmats so that you have one per child. Put them in dry erase sleeves or page protectors. You may wish to consider copying the workmat with three teeth on one side and the workmat with four teeth on the other, etc. That way, if the children progress quickly, you can just have them flip the paper over and keep going. Of course, the children will each need a worksheet as well. These can be done with dry erase markers or with pencil, as you prefer. Pencil is probably easier, since the shark teeth are a bit small!

The Lesson:

1. Pass out the workmats to each child.

2. Choose a number and have them put that many blocks down on the shark’s mouth to represent the teeth.

3. Tell the children a number to subtract, and have them take that many blocks away. To make it more fun, you can roll a die or spin a spinner to choose the number to subtract.  (Note:  In the photo below, the numbers are much too large for this activity!  The only numbers the kids were able to use on the shark from this spinner were 11 and 12.)

4. Count the number of blocks.

5. Show them how to write the equation under the shark face with the dry erase marker.

6. Repeat this as many times as you believe is necessary for your group to understand the process, making sure that you use the academic language keywords “subtract” and “subtraction” so that they learn it.

(This next step might be the next day, depending on your group’s attention span.)

7. Now switch to the workmats with the shark teeth already drawn in, or be prepared to have the children draw their own shark teeth.

8. Have the children black out (or color in) the number of teeth that you say. To make it more fun, you can roll a die or spin a spinner to choose the number to subtract.

9. Have the children count how many teeth are left that are not colored in, and tell them that this is the difference, which is the answer in a subtraction problem.

10. Encourage the children to write the equations themselves, if they can!

(This next step might be the next day, depending on your group’s attention span.)

11. Independent practice: give the children each a worksheet and see if they can do the problems on their own. If not, reteach!

-Heidi

P.S. Here’s my Subtraction Song from Musical Math Vol. 1!!!

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