Lesson 12

Subtract Strategically

Lesson Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is for students to consider when they might use algorithms or other strategies to subtract.

Lesson Narrative

Students have learned several subtraction algorithms in prior lessons. Now students take time to consider when it makes sense to use an algorithm and when it makes sense to use another strategy, such as those learned in grade 2. Students will consider how thinking about the numbers in the problem can help them use their knowledge of subtraction to flexibly subtract within 1,000.

  • Engagement
  • MLR8

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Subtract within 1,000 using algorithms or other strategies based on the numbers in the problem.

Student Facing

  • Let’s consider when to use algorithms and when to use other strategies to subtract.

Required Materials

Materials to Gather

Materials to Copy

  • Greatest Difference, Smallest Difference

Required Preparation

Activity 2:

  • Each group of 2 will need a paper clip.

CCSS Standards


Building Towards

Lesson Timeline

Warm-up 10 min
Activity 1 20 min
Activity 2 15 min
Lesson Synthesis 10 min
Cool-down 5 min

Teacher Reflection Questions

Reflect on your experience with the Number Talks in the curriculum. What moves or questions have improved the learning for each of your students during this routine? What improvements would you make next time?

Suggested Centers

  • How Close? (1–5), Stage 4: Add to 1,000 (Addressing)
  • Number Puzzles: Addition and Subtraction (1–4), Stage 5: Within 1,000 (Addressing)

Print Formatted Materials

For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.

Additional Resources

Google Slides

For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.

PowerPoint Slides

For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.