Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trying A New Math Strategy: Front End Addition

When I was in grade school my teachers taught me how to carry and borrow numbers while adding and  subtracting. I think the technical term is regrouping...but we just called it carry and borrow. Last summer I started teaching this to Alexis because I wanted to challenge her to do problems involving more than single digits. Alexis picked it up quickly but sometimes gets confused on which number to carry.

Last weekend I found a new math strategy called Front End Addition. That is where you do a math problem from left to right just like reading. I showed the strategy to Alexis and no kidding...she picked it up in about 2 minutes. She was able to add hundreds and we are going to try thousands soon.

This strategy is supposed to give kids a better understanding of place value. This strategy is also being used to teach mental math. I've tried it and it is so much easier to do a problem mentally using this technique. There is a really great video of a K/1 high ability class using this method on the Indiana Association of the Gifted facebook page, I highly recommend you check it out. This video also shows how to use this same technique with subtraction.

Alexis's class hasn't done any regrouping, as far as I know, so I'm unsure of what technique they'll use. Are they teaching this technique in your school?


  1. I've never heard about this method before, and I watched the video fascinated. This is so different from how I was taught, and I spent 10 years in school for math gifted. I taught Anna to add numbers usual way - she always picks up very easily something that can be broken down to a simple sequence.

  2. Hmmm...the video is thought-provoking! I think Sam (my 6-year-old) could understand the adding part, but not the -numbers part. But then again, we haven't tried. He's doing well with simple addition though!

    Thanks for stopping by and reading about Sam and SPD. He was doing his Math Drills sheet that morning.


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