Loose Tooth Subtraction!


Today I am going to share a cute little subtraction activity that I made up a couple of weeks ago that is similar to the Shark Teeth Addition that I made up last year, but this time uses kids rather than sharks and is for subtraction rather than addition!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my kids did!  There’s even a free download in it for you!

Sunset in San Diego, CA!

And if you are on vacation this week, then Happy Spring Break to you!!!!  I, too, am very happily on Spring Break this week, and I have to say that it is SWEET!

CA teachers got into Sea World FREE this spring!

My husband and I spent a couple of days on a little getaway in San Diego, and got to go to Sea World on one of our days away.  We have been there lots of times, but it is always fun!

I love those friendly dolphins!!!!

We also visited Balboa Park on the other day, and had a couple of nice dinners.  Just the weather alone is worth the trip to San Diego!

Gotta love that perfect San Diego weather!!!

For those of you that missed the Shark Teeth Addition activity, it was simply an addition lesson in which the children rolled dice or used a spinner to determine how many teeth to draw on the upper and lower jaws of the shark.  Then they counted the total of the teeth and wrote an equation.

The Shark Teeth Addition Activity, done with real manipulatives rather than hand drawn teeth.

There are some worksheets that go with it.  The first activity was a free download, and then we created more of them and made them available for purchase as the demand for them became known.


The Loose Tooth Subtraction Activity

In my new Loose Tooth Subtraction Activity, we start with a picture of a child with ten teeth.  Then we roll a die to see how many teeth the child would lose.  We then black out that many teeth to show that they have been lost, and write the equation.  This activity is not as open ended as the Shark teeth addition activity, because of the need to draw the teeth in from the very beginning, and them black them out.  It seems to me that we could also use the triangle pattern blocks for teeth in the kids mouths, but I am afraid that they would end up looking like vampires or monsters, LOL!


The only trouble that we had with the activity was that the girls ALL insisted on having the picture of the little girl with the bow in her hair!  So I went back into all of the drawings and added a bow to all of the girls’ heads so that this would no longer be an issue.  We cannot have girls without a bow, now, can we?????


This activity was better for the children that were struggling with subtraction than those higher functioning children that were already transitioning well from doing addition exclusively.  For those lower children, the fact that the first number was always ten made things simpler.  In contrast, this made it a little more boring for the higher children.  So for these children, I decided to make some pictures of kids with no teeth at all, and let them both draw the teeth and black them out as well.  This leaves the equations much more open ended and allows more freedom for the teacher to challenge the children that learn a little faster.

Justin No Teeth

Here’s a little song we also learned to go along with our unit on addition from the CD/DVD Musical Math.  Heidi also has a  song for subtraction, of course!  You can hear a bit of it on iTunes here!


I hope you enjoy this free download!  Meanwhile, here are a few other things that we did this past week!


We made sponge painted prints out of some egg and flower shaped doilies I found at the dollar store!

All we did to prepare was put a small amount of glue stick in the middle of the doily to hold it in place while it was painted.

We did a nonsense word coloring activity that was a free download on my blog last year!

Watch for more of these great Color By Nonsense Word Worksheets soon!  We are working on them!


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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. Love, love, love, the shark and missing teeth activities. We just finished addition this week and subtraction next week, so these are perfect!!! I wanted to say thank you to you for helping me find "donorschoose.org" You talked about it a long time ago and since then I have had 2 projects funded!! I finally have enough "points" to do a special request and I am going to try and get some things from you as my special request!! Thanks again for all your wonderful ideas!!!

  2. Thanks for the great idea! As a 'normal' teacher I think of this stuff, but can't execute it…so
    glad you're so clever and can make
    this stuff up so quickly!

  3. Hi, This blog is great its so inspiring. I love it. It is so good that all my friends should see it. It would be great if you were to see my blog at lilz.edublogs.org/
    See you soon, Lilz.

  4. Lve the new subtraction sheets- perfect for my dental unit that I'm starting Tues. have used your shark sheets and the Easter egg surprise and the kids loved them! Thank you so much!

  5. Hey Rachelle!
    It was great meeting you too, today! That was really a fun meet-up, wasn't it??? It's so neat to meet with other teachers that are all of like mind and spirit. I loved it!
    I hope that we can all meet up and do it again in Las Vegas! Hopefully someone will organize something similar! I tried to do it last summer and really blew it, (we couldn't find each other!) so I am going to let someone else be the organizer next time, LOL!

  6. I will totally do it!!!!! I can't wait!!! Then maybe you and I can have a chance to actually talk! I felt so bad!!!! I'm a huge fan of yours!!! See you again in July!

  7. Hey, Traci!
    I really loved meeting you on Saturday, too! I can't wait to read your blog; thanks for the link! I hope we do another meet up soon too. That was fun!!!!

  8. Wow, everyone was so wonderful on Saturday! I had such a wonderful time, and I am so glad I got to meet all of you! I only wish I had brought more DVD's with me to share! I had no idea that there would be so many people there.
    I can't wait until next time, and I hope we all have more time to talk!

  9. Hahahaha! I absolutely LOVE the Loose Tooth Subtraction! Something tells me my kiddos are going to have a ball with this one. Thank you for sharing for free! 🙂

  10. To Vicky1970,
    Hi there! I'm sorry that we didn't get a chance to meet formally either! I came in a bit late myself and missed whatever happened right at the beginning also. Maybe next time though, right?
    Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Is the printable without any teeth available for a free download? I was thinking of laminating it and then using blobs of white playdoh for the teeth. Thanks for the great printable.

  12. Yes, the printable without any teeth is there in the download. Once you download it, just scroll down to the bottom and you'll see all of the "kids" there, but this time, they are all toothless!

  13. Thanks. We are actually using the tips of Q-tips for teeth. I cut off the ends and let my boys use them. I figured it was still something cheap, easy to replace if lost, and not as messy as playdough.

  14. I love you that you share! I am using your shark and loose teeth activities. I made a copy to use on the SmartBoard. Can I send you that file to share?

  15. To anonymous:
    Yes, that's how we always do our sponge painting! We clip a piece of sponge into a clothespin. It helps keep the kids hands a bit cleaner… maybe just a little!

  16. I LOVE your blog! You have some really cute ideas! I'm currently trying to build a blog following of K-2 ideas I've come up with and ideas colleagues have shared. It's not much right now, but should be an excellent resource with the upcoming school year. I would love if you would follow me and check it out: http://elementaryteacherfiles.blogspot.com/#

  17. I LOVE the missing tooth idea. I have been scrambling trying to find some exciting extension ideas for my lower group and this will definitly work. Thank you for posting your creative ideas!

  18. Just found this during our June summer school. I had 15 little kinders, which for some is a small class, but they were at-risk, active and quite excited about learning. We did this activity and it was awesome! Their motivation for this task made me even more glad to have that group each day. Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. This Loose Tooth subtraction is perfect for some review we’ll do first part of next week. I too love the graphics you used! Thanks for sharing. I saw this on Pinterest now and repinned, where it is getting repinned and repinned. Anything that fits into a page protector is wonderful in my mind! 🙂 Thanks!

  20. Pingback: Funschool: Open Wide | Are We There Yet?

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