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“Subtraction Race” combines math with physical education for fun you can count on


Math, P.E. & Health  



Title – Subtraction Race
By – Amber Freitas
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects – Health / Physical Education
Grade Level – First Grade


  • Two boxes
  • Index cards with a number, 1-10, written on each (two sets)
  • At least 10 subtraction questions with answers between 1 and 10
  • Wide-open space, preferably on the grass
  • Small white board and marker


  • OBJECTIVE: Through a game promoting physical activity, students will practice subtracting numbers with a difference between 1 and 10.
        N.S. 1.1: Count, read, and write whole numbers to 100.

        N.S. 2.6: Solve addition and subtraction problems with one-and two-digit numbers (e.g., 5 + 58 = __).

      N.S. 2.7: Find the sum of three one-digit numbers.
  • PURPOSE: “Today we are going to practice what we have learned about solving subtraction problems while exercising our bodies as well.”
  • REVIEW: Ask students to tell their neighbor what 8-6, 8-7 and 8-5 equals (supplying each question at a time). Provide other review problems if needed. Remind children how to perform the “counting back” method of subtraction.


    Warm-up: Getting Started…

  • Take students out to a grassy area and perform some simple stretches. This will warm up their bodies.
  • Give students a few subtraction problems to work in the heads. This will “warm up” their minds.
  • Check for understanding: Ask students to show the answers to the subtraction problems given by holding up the corresponding number of fingers.
  • Explain to the students how to play the game:
    • Students will be divided into two teams.
    • Each team will make a line facing their box (placed a reasonable distance away).
    • The first student in each line will place their attention on the teacher.
    • The teacher will read a subtraction problem to the students who, upon hearing the question, must run down to their box, locate the index card with the correct answer on it, and return to the teacher in the quickest amount of time.
    • The first student back, with the correct answer, scores one point for their team.
    • The team with the most points at the end of the game receives a big round of applause.


  • MODELING: Have one of the students show the others where they will be running to, asking that student to place the two boxes with index cards inside at the stopping point.

IV. CLOSURE (Final check for understanding before independent practice):

  • Ask one of the students to explain the game to the others.
  • Ask the students to suggest things that should be kept in mind when playing this game (good sportsmanship, trying your best, being a supportive team member, etc).
  • Ask the students if they have any questions.
  • Divide them into teams based on classroom seating chart groups.


  • Read the first subtraction problem to the first set of racers. When they return, check their answer cards they have brought back and determine which group receives the point.
  • Continue until all of the students have had a turn.

E-Mail Amber Freitas !

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