Subtraction to 10

After we build a good foundation in Number Sense Unit 1 and learned about Addition to 10 Unit 2, we move on to Subtraction to 10. This unit exposes students to various strategies to subtract two numbers with a difference of up to 10. We all learn in different ways and have our favorite strategies to use. Therefore, I feel it is important to expose them to different ways to subtract and let them choose their favorite when working independently. We learn to cross off, use ten-frames, use number bonds, use a number line, and use manipulatives.

subtraction to 10 math unit

My guided math lessons follow the acronym, MASTER. You can read more about that here. Each letter stands for a component in math.
A=apply skills
S=small group

Today I’m going to share with you the different parts of my subtraction to 10 unit. The theme for this unit is shark and fish. Each day we meet and go over some digital slides to introduce the topic. We discuss the new skill or strategy and then we go over what they will be doing independently at each rotation.


During manipulatives, students use different tools to practice math in a hands-on way. In this unit, they sort subtraction cards onto mats, solve problems with a number line and shark fin, sort fish into their fishbowl family, use dry erase markers and visuals to fill in a number bond, solve word problems using visuals, and use dominoes to solve problems.

Apply Skills

During this rotation, students collaborate and play games to apply their new skills. This unit includes a couple of different bingo games, a number grid game, and two different top-it “War” versions. There are also a few cover-all board games. My students always enjoy this rotation.

Small Group

During this rotation, I work with 4-5 children at a time to practice subtraction to 10 skills using paper and pencil. We work on different subtraction strategies in small groups. I can see how they are progressing daily which I love.

subtraction to 10 worksheets


Technology is a great tool to engage students in math. It also reaches those learners who may struggle in different areas of math. In this unit, they find the missing number in a number bond, subtract with a number line, solve subtraction number stories, solve basic subtraction problems by crossing off the objects, and more. It is a fun way for them to practice their skills without using paper and pencil.


I have an enrichment station open where students can go if they complete their activity and want to challenge themselves. Children are working on the same skills but at a more advanced level. Many are open-ended with the opportunity for all children to work on them. One example in this unit is a set of blank fact family lines. Children use their level to create more difficult fact families. Reaching numbers higher than a difference of 10.


The review rotation is simply that, review. It should be independent practice on skills they have already been exposed to in previous lessons. This rotation keeps learned skills fresh and provides an opportunity for students who didn’t yet master the skill to have more practice.

At the end of each unit, there is an assessment. Since we don’t do rotations on assessment day, I have created a fun cumulative craft for the themes. In this unit, we make sharks with fish in their mouth. On the back, we write a number story and solve it.

subtraction to 10 math craft

There are so many other components in this unit from lesson plans, assessment recording sheets, “I can” posters, binder covers, and book suggestions, I am confident your students will love this unit as much as mine do!

Here is what a few people had to see about Subtraction to 10 Guided Master Math Unit 3:

“I love these math units! They have EVERYTHING you need! The activities are engaging and there are lots of different kinds of activities included!”

“I have purchased a few of these Master Math units and they have been the most AMAZING resources for my first graders. I have truly seen a huge improvement in their learning, and this is helping my students make better connections in math to better their understanding!”

Read more about these math units on my blog:


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I’m Megan, a first grade teacher and a mother to 7 amazing children. I love to create and collaborate with teachers. When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my family, baking and playing tennis.

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