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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
This sweet time of year makes for a great theme for all your academic centers, which makes these sugar-filled Valentine’s Day subtraction worksheets for kindergarten a sure-fire success with your students. In the kindergarten classroom, Valentine’s day is less about love and crushes and more about friendship and candy; a lesson we could all do with learning!
Learning Subtraction With Pictures
Subtraction is often a confusing part of mathematics for younger students. Addition is easy to conceptualize in its abstract form as students can picture bringing more objects together mentally and then counting them. You can do this by using number line sliders, using pictures to count groups and add them together or, for more advanced students, simply practicing addition facts.
Subtraction requires the step of removing these objects, and some students struggle with the fact that these objects still exist even though we’re not counting them. Learning subtraction within 10 using pictures that students can cross out is a great way to start their journey to formal subtraction equations and these subtraction worksheets for kindergarten will help them take their first steps.
Preparing Valentines Subtraction Worksheets for Kindergarten
These Valentine’s Day worksheets come ready to use straight off the printer. You should consider cutting each equation so students don’t feel overwhelmed by a whole sheet of math; you could also post each equation around your room to make it into a scavenger hunt to bring some much needed movement to your classroom. There are two ways to print these math clip cards. The first is to have a full size set which you laminate. This can be used for small group instruction or independent self checks. You should also print out a smaller set, possibly 4 to a page, so that students can use them like a deck of cards for the games described below.
Scaffolding Subtraction Within 10 Centers
Using these Valentine’s Day worksheets can be as simple as downloading and hitting the print button. However, good kindergarten instruction relies on meeting students where they are at, so you will want a few differentiated activities to scaffold student learning:
Physical manipulatives – for those students who are still developing their number sense, it will be important to give them opportunities to link numbers with physical objects. Around Valentine’s Day, it will be easy to find small trinkets or candies in the same shapes as the objects on this free Valentine’s printable and have students manually remove objects to demonstrate subtraction. As they get more confident with the process, you can show how the math looks when we put it down on paper in equation form.
Patterned exercises – as students get more familiar with the concept of subtraction within 10 using these subtraction worksheets for kindergarten, there is the risk that they’ll simply learn the answers by rote. To help them build a sense of the size of the numbers that they’re dealing with, prepare packs where either the starting number or the number that you’re subtracting remains the same and the other numbers change by one each time (10 – 9, 10 – 8, 10 – 7 for example). This will help them see patterns in the numbers and give them some key subtraction facts to build from.
Creating equations – for students who demonstrate a solid ability to complete the worksheets independently, you can begin to transition them to being able to create their own equations. You can start by having them compare the pictures for subtraction within 10 to the equation next to it, and then have them start to create their own subtraction equations using physical objects and writing down what they did.