Posted by: cyncas | February 24, 2010

Story Sums (adding and take away)

This week during our Maths sessions we have started working with story sums where the children need to decide if they are doing an addition or take away.  Apart from listening and reading the story sum, we are learning to break the information to help us decide

1) how to write the sum,

2) if we need to do an addition or a take away sum

We have found out that words like ‘how much alltogether’ and ‘how much in all’ mean we need to do a plus.  Words like ‘what is left’ and ‘eaten, blown away, taken away’ all mean we need to do a minus.

We have also looked at sums where there is plus and take away with the same numbers.  To help us remember we have learnt this trick:

For addition: look at the first group, look at the second group and add both together.  The last number is the biggest number.

For take away: start with the big number (what we had alltogether), take away what was ‘blown’/’eaten’/’fell’ away, what is left is the answer.

To work these type of sums we have been using props – playmobil toys or animals pretending they are going to a party.  Bottle tops served as ‘cakes’.  The guests either brought with them cakes or ate up cakes.  We then had to find out the answer.  We also looked at apples on trees both for counting as well as take away.  We even had caterpillars on leaves to count.

Needless to say, this is not an easy concept, especially since the children have to first decide if they are adding or taking away and then they need to put down the right numbers to get the correct answers.  Keep practicing these methods at home as well.



  1. Hello Ms.Cynthia,
    You always make way for enjoyable teaching which will make the kids enjoying it and learning at the same time.
    Keep up the good work you realy are giving our children the best of the best!!
    Thanks for everything.
    Dorianne Sammut.

    • Thank you Mrs Sammut, I try my best to make learning enjoyable and fruitful. In the end this is what remains in the children’s mind. I appreciate your support, thank you.

  2. Wow! Good to know as ‘my teacher’ has been trying to explain to me (the pupil) how to make these difficult sums but I couldn’t really understand what she was trying to tell me! A big thank you for your explanation! I was buying bottle top vegetables and couldn’t understand why she was using bottle tops instead of her plastic vegetables!

    • How sweet 🙂 Don’t worry you will soon have the opportunity to feel like a student!!! Keep a look out for notes coming out soon for the next parental involvement!!!

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