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Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Math Literature: The Difference Model for Subtraction

Today I am excited to share with you a NEW book to my math literature collection.  This book was just published a few months ago by a brand new author, Laura Gehl who by the looks of her website will be publishing more great math literature books in the coming years.  The illustrator is Tom Lichtenheld who has done a lot of recent children's books.

I have had this book for a few weeks and have already found a few ways to use it in the classroom.  Because it is a book about sharing and counting, it is a natural fit for Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms.  The story line is super engaging, funny and does an excellent job combining sharing and counting concepts.  Just reading the story with your class will open up a lot of ideas about sharing, counting, one to one correspondence and writing numbers.  You can also grab a few great worksheets for free of the author's website which make this an ideal book to leave along with some plans and these worksheets in your emergency substitute plans.

Simple worksheets that include pictures from the story are a great way to follow up reading this story.  

This story is also great to use with older primary students to look at the difference model for subtraction.  I find that the difference model is much harder for students and teachers partially because they have less experience with it.  Several of the 12 types of addition and subtraction word problems are all about finding the difference and kids need a lot of hands on practice with this idea.   I used this book with a group of intervention second graders to get some more practice with compare type problems.  This lesson would also work well in a first grade classroom.  Check it out!

We used 2 sided counters to place over each object.  

We then matched up the 2 sided counters and saw that there was one more yellow one.  

Pulling the counters off the book

Showing how they match up and using the language of how many more with a subtraction equation

Practicing on another page.  Here we used the language of how many fewer (kids need exposure to both!).  We also reviewed the greater than and less than symbols.  


  1. Great lesson! I like the way you pulled the counters off the page to make a problem.

  2. Love this! And thanks for the book recommendation. I'm unfamiliar with it. Just put it on hold! ;)

  3. I'm so glad you re-posted this link on Facebook. I will be sharing this lesson with my 1st and 2nd grade teachers. The difference model for subtraction can be such a tricky concept and this lesson looks like a great support!