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A child is struggling to find missing numbers in addition

Several people have asked me about this... what to do when a 1st grader is struggling to grasp the concept of missing numbers in addition problems, such as 3 + ___ = 8.

This concept comes up quite early in Math Mammoth Grade 1, and it is called "missing addends". You can see some pages from that lesson in the sample file for grade 1, on page 19.

Here's a way to test if a child is ready for that concept.

Take some small objects like beans. Using some small amount, say 5, show the child the 5 beans in your hand. Now hide SOME of them behind your back and show the child the ones that didn't go hiding. Ask him or her how many are hiding.

It's basically a GAME... you can call it "Some went hiding" game.

Besides not being ready for the concept, one other reason why finding missing addends may be difficult is because children often confuse the notation 2 + ___ = 6 with the addition problem 2 + 6. Starting with the game and concrete objects can help with that also.

However, if even the game is difficult, then the child just needs more time to let his/her brain mature. Meanwhile, you could explore other topics, such as two-digit numbers, geometry, measurement, and clock.



By Maria Miller



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