Addition/Subtraction Strategies


These exercises and activities are for students to use independently of the teacher to practice number properties and strategies for addition and subtraction.

Achievement Objectives
Description of Mathematics

Addition and subtraction, AA and AM (Stage 6 and 7)

Required Resource Materials
Practice exercises with answers (PDF or Word)

Prior knowledge

Experience with the addition and subtraction strategies: jumping on the number line, reversing subtraction problems, tidy numbers, equal additions, using doubles, using multiplicaton, and addition with decimals


This activity provides students with the opportunity to revise a number of addition and subtraction problems.

Comments on the Exercises

Each exercise focuses on one add/sub strategy. The exercise starts with small numbers and extends to big numbers and decimals. The last question in each exercise asks students to write a word or story problem. In the final two exercises students are choosing the most appropriate strategy. The amount of working students show will be individual. This is a good opportunity for the teacher to discuss with students how much working is appropriate to show how the questions have been answered.

Exercise 1
Asks students to solve unknowns in an addtion problem by using a nmber line. Students should already know that 6 + ? = 8 and ? + 6 = 8 can both be solved the same way, as addition is commutative. It may pay to discuss whether or not this can be extended to subtractions, for a number of students incorrectly assume it can. This also applies to exercise 3, if that exercise is used before exercise 1

Exercise 2
Asks students to solve subtraction problems by reversing them.

Exercise 3
Asks students to use tidy numbers. When working with decimals, whole numbers act as tidy numbers.

Exercise 4
Asks students to solve problems when one number is near 100

Exercise 5
Asks students to solve problems using equal additions. When working with decimals, whole numbers act as tidy numbers. Also note that in questions 11 and 12 the problems have been turned into equations. This change in pattern can confuse some students, who do not realise the problems are the same. It may be worthwhile discussing what the equals sign means in relation to these questions. Earlier problems do not have an equals sign as students often erroneously learn that it means ‘work out the answer’

Exercise 6
Asks students to solve problems using doubles.

Exercise 7
Asks students to solve problems using multiplication.  It requires knowledge of factors and is a level 4 activity

Exercise 8
Asks students to use place value strategies to add decimals.  This is a level 4 activity. 


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