Problem Solving Through Magic

In Virginia, we teach addition and subtraction up to 10 in kindergarten. Typically addition comes first, then subtraction, sometimes with a break between the two. By the end of addition, THEY GET IT! By the end of subtraction, THEY GET IT! It's amazing and kinders just love to add and subtract. 

However, later in the year I love to revisit them, assess what students have retained, and dig into the two a little deeper while we get the kiddoes ready to be firsties. That's when I usually do 1-2 weeks of general problem solving. We look at tons of story problems and figure out whether the story problems are telling us that we need to add or subtract. That means there's a high focus on vocabulary, comparison, and strategy practice to actually solve the problems. This is A LOT to ask kindergarteners to do, so it's incredibly important that you break it down into manageable chunks AND make it engaging! Cue problem solving through magic!

Before I started this week, I spent time reviewing addition and subtraction, as well as strategies we can use to help us with the two (manipulatives, number lines, ten frames, etc.).

Our focus was on one magic trick per day, with that trick then moving to an independent workstation the following day.

Trick #1

Unlocking the Magic 

For this trick I used story problems that you can find in my Math Magicians Set on TpT. Students had to read the problem, decide what equation from the keys matched that problem (there was a mix of + and -), and match that key to the correct answer on that lock. They knew they were correct if their key unlocked the lock.

I purchased my addition and subtraction locks from Lakeshore but you could also make your own with these locks and keys from the Amazon affiliate link below:

Trick #2

Pull a Rabbit Out of a Hat

I found these rabbit eggs at Dollar Tree around Easter! They were perfect for placing the addition and subtraction vocabulary words in.

Students had to pick a rabbit and create a story problem using that vocabulary word, then write the corresponding equation.

All of the printable materials for this are included in my Math Magicians set on TpT!

Trick #3

Pick a Card, Any Card!

I found these BEAUTIFUL rainbow cards at Five Below. Students had to pick a card, then come up with an addition or subtraction equation that had that answer. This was a little challenging, but they loved it! 

Trick #4

For this trick, I placed balls under one cup and moved them around. Students had to find the balls under one of the cups and draw it. I then either took some away or added some of the other color and students had to complete the equation.

Here are some of the materials that I purchased from Amazon to make this happen!

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