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Spin Your Number Wheels!

Excite your students as they learn how to add and subtract! Number wheels assist children in jumping around between addition and subtraction.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. As a tool for students learning addition and subtraction facts, invite your children to create spinning wheels that create mathematical equations.
    2. Ask each child in the class to create 3 wheels. Divide the back of a large paper plate into several pie sections using Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils and a straight edge. Label sections with numbers around the outside edge using Crayola Ultra-Clean Markers.
    3. With Crayola Scissors, students cut out a circle from another plate (see the picture). Remind students to make it smaller than their numbered circles. Assist students as needed. Demonstrate to students how to divide it into sections that match the first plate. Write numbers on each section so all the numbers line up.
    4. On a third paper plate, draw a small center circle and add a tab. This tab needs to be large enough to cover numbers on the second circle. Cut out. On the tab, outline a large plus sign (or a minus sign to practice subtraction) and cut it out to make a hole in that shape. Write a number in the middle.
    5. Assemble number wheels. Place the plates on top of each other in the order that they were made. An adult should be available to poke a hole in the center of all three layers. Secure with a brass paper fastener.
    6. Start spinning! Initially working as a whole class, ask one student to pick a number, for example 10. Pose the question: What two numbers combine to equal 10? Students pick a number along the edge, like 9, then set the plus tab at this number. What number is needed to add to 9 to equal 10? Students move the inner numbered circle around so that the number 1 fits inside the plus sign. The number has been found; an equation has been written (9+1=10). Try additional examples; then break the class into teams of 2 or 4 and have students practice their addition facts while mastering how to work with their math wheels!
    7. Challenge students to figure out how to subtract by spinning with minus-sign wheels. This can be done working as a whole class or in small groups.
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

    MATH: Explain why addition and subtraction strategies work, using place value and the properties of operations.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Elevator Magic by Stuart J. Murphy; Animals on Board by Stuart J. Murphy

    Students work in small groups to write word problems that illustrate an equation that includes addition or subtraction. After reading the word problem, classmates determine the math equation that matches the problem.

    Use this lesson plan's format to create multiplication number wheels. Encourage students to write word problems to match multiplication equations.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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