Exploring Subtraction Strategies Unit Plan

Teach Starter Publishing
7 x lessons | Suitable for stages: 1 - 3

This Mathematics unit covers a range of mental computation strategies for subtraction.

It consists of 7 lessons of approximately 60-minutes duration.

The sequence of lessons and suggested time frames should be regarded as a guide only; teachers should pace lessons in accordance with the individual learning needs of their class.

An assessment task for monitoring student understanding of the unit objectives is included and will require an additional lesson.


  • To revise and consolidate known subtraction strategies.
  • To learn and apply the subtraction strategy of making tens.
  • To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of addition and subtraction as inverse operations.
  • To apply understanding of addition and subtraction as inverse operations when solving equations with missing addends.
  • To learn and apply the subtraction strategies of jumping and splitting.
  • To learn and apply the strategy of trading in subtraction.
  • To demonstrate an understanding of subtraction strategies.

Preparing for Learning

Prior to commencing the unit, develop a subtraction display in the classroom. Display posters, word wall vocabulary and learning goals that the students will engage with throughout the unit to stimulate their learning. For examples of such resources, browse the Subtraction category on the Teach Starter website.

There are many concepts to address within the topic of subtraction strategies. The lessons in this unit cover a range of these concepts, many of which have varying degrees of complexity. Teachers are encouraged to select lessons from the unit that best suit the learning needs of their students or to adapt lessons accordingly.

Some of the resources that accompany this unit plan will need to be prepared prior to teaching. For this reason, it is advised that teachers browse all lessons before commencing the unit.



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