Subtraction to 5

Subtraction to 5

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Subtraction to 5

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Students learn to do subtraction problems with numbers to 5.

Common core standard



It is important that students learn to subtract with numbers to 5 so that they can learn how many are left when you take objects away.


First count the objects with the students. Then drag the numbers to the correct order. Make sure to mention which number comes before and which comes after each given number and ask students to explain how they know a number belongs in a certain place.


Students are given subtraction problems with visual support. Explain to students that they can solve these problems by first looking at how many are objects are in the first group, and then counting how many are taken away. Say that the total number of objects is always the first number in a subtraction problem (the minuend) and the number that is taken away is always the second number in a subtraction problem (the subtrahend). Practice this with a few examples. If the numbers in a subtraction problem are not visually supported you can use blocks or a rekenrek. Students can also make use of a number line. Discuss that you can calculate these problems in different ways, whether that is to see how many more you need to add to the subtrahend to equal the minuend, or to split the minuend into two smaller numbers to make it easier to subtract. Practice a few problems with the students and ask them which method they use to find the difference.

Guided practice

Students are first given an exercise in which they have visual support for the subtraction problem. They then must select a correct answer from multiple choice options. Finally students are asked to solve a subtraction problem without visual support.


Discuss with students that it is important to be able to subtract numbers to 5 so they can calculate how many they have left. Give the students each a subtraction problem to solve. Ask the class if they can explain how to determine the answer.

Teaching tips

Students who have difficulty can be supported by the use of blocks or other manipulatives.

Instruction materials

blocks, rekenrek

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