Categories: 6 y.o.




Categories: 6 y.o.




I. Introduction. 

If you’ve ever wondered how to provide your child with a solid mathematical foundation, one of the keys lies in understanding and mastering vertical addition and subtraction. These operations, though they may appear straightforward, are the building blocks of numerous mathematical concepts that your child will encounter later in their academic journey.

As a parent, helping your child grasp these skills at an early age is crucial. But how can you introduce these concepts in a manner that’s enjoyable and meaningful for a 6-year-old? This comprehensive guide aims to explore the world of vertical addition and subtraction, presenting strategies, activities, and insights to make the learning process exciting and rewarding for both you and your child.

This journey will take you from understanding the basic concepts of vertical addition and subtraction, through methods of teaching these skills with and without regrouping, to overcoming the common challenges that children encounter. We will also discuss the long-term benefits of mastering these skills and the role they play in building a robust mathematical foundation.

Whether you’re homeschooling or looking to supplement your child’s learning, this guide is designed to empower you with practical teaching techniques, bolster your child’s confidence in their mathematical abilities, and ignite their curiosity for numbers. Let’s dive in!

Up next: Unveiling the basic concepts of vertical addition and subtraction!

II. Understanding Vertical Addition and Subtraction

Before we delve into the teaching strategies, let’s first understand what we mean by vertical addition and subtraction. These terms refer to the method of setting up and solving addition or subtraction problems with the numbers arranged vertically, one beneath the other. This setup is particularly beneficial when dealing with numbers that have two or more digits.

Here’s a simple example:




The vertical layout allows children to understand the addition or subtraction of each place value separately, starting from the rightmost digit (ones) and moving to the left (tens, hundreds, and so on). It makes the process more systematic and manageable, particularly when dealing with larger numbers.

While horizontal addition and subtraction (34 + 52 = ?) may be more intuitive for beginners, vertical methods become increasingly crucial as children progress to higher grades and start dealing with larger numbers and more complex mathematical operations. Understanding this vertical structure can pave the way for learning multiplication, division, and even algebra in later years.

However, teaching vertical addition and subtraction may pose its own challenges, particularly when introducing the concept of regrouping (also known as borrowing or carrying). But fear not – with a patient, step-by-step approach and engaging teaching methods, your child can successfully navigate these challenges.

In the following sections, we’ll first explore teaching strategies for vertical addition and subtraction without regrouping before gradually transitioning to methods involving regrouping.

Ready to dive into the world of vertical addition and subtraction? Let’s start with vertical addition without regrouping!

III. Teaching Vertical Addition Without Regrouping

Learning vertical addition without regrouping is an excellent first step for 6-year-olds. This method helps them grasp the concept of adding numbers in a column, which is easier to understand without the added complexity of carrying over or regrouping.

Here’s how to introduce this concept:

Understanding the Process

First, it’s essential to explain how to set up the numbers vertically. Use a piece of paper and divide it into columns for ones and tens. You can use terms your child is familiar with, like “ones place” and “tens place.” Then, show them how to add numbers column by column, starting from the right.

For example:




Here, start with adding the numbers in the ones place (3+5), then move to the tens place (2+3).

Hands-On Activities and Games

Using manipulatives, such as base-ten blocks or counting beads, can make the learning process more tangible and engaging. Let your child physically group objects and then count the total. For instance, for the problem 25 + 34, they can group 25 objects and 34 objects separately and then combine them to find the total.

Interactive games, like addition bingo or number line races, can also be a fun way to practice vertical addition. There are numerous online resources and apps that offer such games tailored to a child’s learning level.

Exercises for Reinforcement

Offer plenty of opportunities for your child to practice vertical addition with varied exercises. Start with smaller numbers and gradually introduce larger ones as their confidence grows. Encourage them to check their work using other methods they’re comfortable with, such as horizontal addition or counting objects.

The next step in this journey is vertical subtraction without regrouping. Let’s discover the strategies for teaching this concept in the next section.

Stay tuned for the next exciting step: vertical subtraction without regrouping!

IV. Teaching Vertical Subtraction Without Regrouping

Subtraction, often perceived as a more challenging operation than addition, can become an enjoyable learning experience with the right teaching strategies. Just like with addition, we will start teaching vertical subtraction without the complexity of regrouping or borrowing.

Here’s how to introduce vertical subtraction without regrouping:

Understanding the Process

Firstly, explain how to arrange the numbers vertically in columns (ones, tens, etc.) just like we did for addition. Emphasize that in subtraction, the larger number always comes first. Explain that we subtract column by column, starting from the ones place.

For example:




Here, start by subtracting the numbers in the ones place (4-2), then move to the tens place (5-3).

Practical Exercises and Activities

Practical examples can make abstract mathematical concepts easier to understand. Use real-life scenarios to explain subtraction. For instance, if your child has 5 apples and they eat 2, how many are left? Such examples provide context and help them comprehend the meaning of subtraction.

Manipulatives, like counting beads, can also aid understanding. Let your child physically remove objects from a larger group to see the result.

Interactive games such as subtraction bowling, card games, or online apps can make learning subtraction a fun and engaging experience.

Practice Problems for Skill Reinforcement

Practice is key to mastering any new skill. Provide ample exercises for your child to practice vertical subtraction. Start with smaller numbers and gradually introduce larger ones. Encourage them to cross-check their work using different methods like counting or horizontal subtraction.

Mastering vertical addition and subtraction without regrouping is a significant milestone. Once your child is comfortable with these concepts, it’s time to introduce regrouping, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Up next: Unveiling the concept of regrouping in vertical addition and subtraction!

V. Introduction to Regrouping in Vertical Addition and Subtraction

Regrouping, sometimes referred to as borrowing or carrying, is an essential concept in vertical addition and subtraction. It is needed when you’re dealing with sums that exceed 9 in addition or when a smaller number is being subtracted from a larger number in a specific column in subtraction.

Concept of Regrouping

In vertical addition, regrouping occurs when the sum of numbers in a column is 10 or more. For example, when adding 37 and 46, the sum of the ones place is 13. Since 13 is a two-digit number, we regroup and carry the “1” (representing 10) over to the tens place.

In vertical subtraction, regrouping is necessary when the digit in the subtrahend (bottom number) is larger than the corresponding digit in the minuend (top number). In such cases, we ‘borrow’ a ’10’ from the next column.

Importance and Benefits of Understanding Regrouping

Regrouping forms the basis for managing more complex mathematical operations, including multiplication, division, and working with fractions in higher grades.

Also, understanding regrouping can enhance number sense and mental math skills. It encourages children to think of numbers in flexible ways (e.g., seeing 10 as 1 ten or 10 ones).

Basic Exercises to Introduce Regrouping

Before delving into vertical addition and subtraction with regrouping, you can introduce the concept through simple exercises:

  1. Use base-ten blocks: Base-ten blocks are an excellent way to visually represent regrouping. The blocks can show that ten “ones” can be grouped into one “ten”, and vice versa.
  2. Practice making exchanges: Encourage your child to practice making exchanges of 1 ten for 10 ones and vice versa, to reinforce the concept of regrouping.
  3. Use number bonds: Number bonds represent how a number can be split into two parts. For example, the number 10 can be split into 7 and 3, 6 and 4, etc. Practicing number bonds can help children understand that numbers can be broken up and regrouped in different ways.

In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into teaching strategies for vertical addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Stay tuned for the next exciting journey: vertical addition with regrouping!

VI. Teaching Vertical Addition With Regrouping

Once your child has a solid understanding of vertical addition without regrouping and the basic concept of regrouping, it’s time to introduce vertical addition with regrouping. This can seem challenging at first, but with patience and consistent practice, your child will soon master it.

Step-by-Step Process of Teaching Vertical Addition with Regrouping

  1. Introduce the Concept: Start by showing an example of an addition problem that requires regrouping. Use a two-digit number to keep it simple at first.

For example:



Here, adding the numbers in the ones place (8+7) gives a sum of 15, a two-digit number. Explain that this sum needs to be regrouped.

  1. Explain the Regrouping Process: Show your child how to carry over the ‘1’ to the tens column. The ‘1’ represents ’10’, which is added to the sum of the tens column.

It should look like this:

1 (carried over)



3. Practice with Manipulatives: Use base-ten blocks to demonstrate regrouping physically. Ten ones can be exchanged for one ten-block, visually reinforcing the concept of carrying over.

  1. Provide Practice Problems: Once your child understands the process, provide plenty of addition problems that require regrouping. Start with two-digit numbers and progress to larger numbers as they become more comfortable.

Interactive Activities for Learning This Concept

Make practice fun by incorporating games and interactive activities. There are many online math games focused on addition with regrouping. You can also create simple games at home, like addition dice roll (roll two dice, add the numbers, and write the problem and solution vertically) or addition war with playing cards.

Reinforcing Exercises for Practice

The key to mastering vertical addition with regrouping is consistent practice. Provide different sets of problems daily and praise your child’s progress to motivate them. Remember to make the learning process enjoyable and stress-free.

With the mastery of vertical addition with regrouping, your child is halfway through the journey. The next stop? Vertical subtraction with regrouping.

Up next: Navigating the world of vertical subtraction with regrouping!

VII. Teaching Vertical Subtraction With Regrouping

Subtraction with regrouping can seem even more daunting to a child than addition with regrouping. However, with the right tools and a patient, methodical approach, your child can confidently master this skill. Let’s explore how you can introduce and teach this concept effectively.

Method of Teaching Vertical Subtraction with Regrouping

  1. Introduce the Concept: Start with a simple subtraction problem that requires regrouping.

For example:



Explain that when the number on the bottom (8) is larger than the one on top (3), we need to regroup.

  1. Explain the Regrouping Process: Show your child how to ‘borrow’ from the tens column. The ‘borrowed’ ten is added to the top number in the ones column. Now, we can subtract 8 from 13.

It should look like this:

63 (7 becomes 6, 3 becomes 13)



3. Use Manipulatives for Demonstrations: Base-ten blocks can be very useful to illustrate subtraction with regrouping. This gives your child a hands-on understanding of the process.

  1. Practice Problems: Once your child understands the concept, offer a variety of subtraction problems that require regrouping. As always, start simple and gradually introduce larger numbers.

Real-Life Examples and Activities for Better Understanding

Using real-life examples can make learning more meaningful. For instance, if your child has 5 candies and wants to share 8 with their friends, they realize they don’t have enough, just like in subtraction with regrouping.

Interactive games and activities also make learning enjoyable. Subtraction scavenger hunts, online math games, and worksheets can all offer engaging ways to practice.

Practice Problems for Skill Reinforcement

Consistent practice will help your child grow comfortable with subtraction with regrouping. Ensure they have ample opportunities to work on a variety of problems. It’s also helpful to reinforce the idea of checking their work, perhaps by using addition to confirm their subtraction solutions.

With these tools and strategies, you’re well-equipped to help your child master vertical subtraction with regrouping, a significant milestone in their mathematical journey.

But what if they encounter challenges along the way? The next section will address how to overcome common obstacles in learning vertical addition and subtraction.

VIII. Overcoming Challenges in Learning Vertical Addition and Subtraction

Despite your best efforts and carefully crafted teaching strategies, your child may encounter challenges while learning vertical addition and subtraction. That’s okay. Every child learns at their own pace, and facing and overcoming difficulties is a part of the learning process.

Here are some common challenges and how you can help your child overcome them:

  1. Difficulty in Understanding Regrouping: If your child struggles with the concept of regrouping, try breaking it down into simpler parts. Use manipulatives and real-life examples. Encourage them to practice exchanging 10 ones for 1 ten and vice versa.
  2. Forgetting to Regroup: Some children might understand the concept of regrouping but forget to apply it in problems. In such cases, remind them gently whenever they miss it. Practice and repetition can help instill this habit.
  3. Making Errors in Alignment: Aligning numbers correctly in columns is crucial in vertical addition and subtraction. If your child finds this challenging, graph paper can be a useful tool. The squares can help them line up numbers correctly.
  4. Lack of Confidence: Confidence plays a crucial role in learning. If your child is not confident, they might be hesitant to try new problems. Praise their efforts, even if they make mistakes. Ensure they understand that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow.
  5. Keeping the Learning Process Fun and Stress-free: If your child feels stressed or pressured, they might lose interest in learning. Incorporate fun activities and games into their learning to make it enjoyable. Also, ensure they take regular breaks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Remember, patience is key. With consistent support and encouragement, your child can overcome these challenges and gain mastery in vertical addition and subtraction.

Up next: Applying vertical addition and subtraction skills in real-world scenarios!

IX. Practical Application of Vertical Addition and Subtraction Skills

Once your child has mastered vertical addition and subtraction, it’s important to help them understand how these skills are not just confined to their math homework but also applicable in real-life situations. This practical application reinforces the importance and relevance of the skills they have learned.

Here are some ways to connect these concepts to the real world:

  1. Shopping Exercises: During grocery shopping, let your child add up the prices of different items or subtract the total cost from the amount you have to see how much change you should receive.
  2. Planning a Party: If your child is planning a birthday party, let them be in charge of the budget. They can add up the costs of different items and subtract them from the total budget to see how much is left.
  3. Cooking and Baking: Many cooking and baking recipes involve measurements that can often be added or subtracted. Let your child help in the kitchen and get some math practice at the same time.
  4. Travel Planning: If you’re going on a trip, let your child help with planning. They can add up travel times or subtract arrival and departure times to calculate the duration of flights or road trips.
  5. Money Management: Teach your child about saving and spending by letting them manage their own pocket money. They can add their savings over time or subtract their expenditures to see how much money they have left.

Practical application of vertical addition and subtraction helps children understand the relevance of math in daily life and makes the learning process more engaging and meaningful.

So, what’s next after your child has mastered vertical addition and subtraction? The final section will guide you through the next steps in their mathematical journey!

X. Next Steps in Your Child’s Mathematical Journey

Congratulations! Your child has successfully mastered vertical addition and subtraction, both without and with regrouping. They’ve learned how to properly align numbers, apply regrouping strategies, and overcome common challenges. They’ve also begun to see how these mathematical concepts apply to real-world scenarios. But this is just the beginning of their mathematical journey.

Here’s what they can look forward to learning next:

  1. Multiplication and Division: These operations build directly on the understanding of addition and subtraction. Your child will learn how multiplication is repeated addition, and division is repeated subtraction.
  2. Working with Larger Numbers: As your child grows older, they’ll start working with larger numbers. The skills they’ve gained from vertical addition and subtraction will help them handle three-digit and four-digit numbers.
  3. Fractions and Decimals: These concepts can be a bit challenging, but with the solid foundation your child has built in understanding numbers and operations, they’re ready to take on these new concepts.
  4. Problem-Solving Skills: Word problems and complex mathematical puzzles will help your child apply their mathematical knowledge, develop logical thinking, and improve their problem-solving skills.
  5. Exploring Geometry and Measurements: These subjects offer a different perspective on mathematics, focusing more on shapes, sizes, and spaces.

Remember, every child learns at their own pace, and it’s important to support them through each step of their learning journey. Encourage them, celebrate their progress, and help them see that learning math can be an exciting adventure.

By mastering vertical addition and subtraction, your child has gained crucial mathematical skills that will serve as building blocks for more advanced concepts in the future. This learning milestone deserves celebration. So, here’s to your child’s success in their mathematical journey, and here’s to the many more achievements yet to come!

Stay in the loop

Subscribe to our free newsletter.