How to teach the concept of addition

In this article we provide a simple method that parents and teachers can use to teach addition to students. The intention of this exercise is to help students recognise the number of objects presented in familiar patterns up to 10, without counting.

What you will need

Some simple toys for counting such as toy cars and a playmat.

Method to teach addition

With this simple exercise the student will recognise that sets of objects can be combined to find out how many there are altogether.

  • Start the lesson by explaining to the student that you are going to tell them a story using the toy cars and playmat.
  • Begin by saying: ‘First there were 3 children playing with 3 cars’, place 3 cars on the playmat and then ask the student to tell you how many children were playing with cars, confirm that there are 3.
how to teach subtraction - start with 3 cars
  • Next, tell the student, ‘Then 2 more children came to play,’ add 2 more cars to the playmat.
how to teach subtraction - add to cars
  • Ask the student to tell you how many children are playing with the cars now. Confirm that there are 5 children playing with cars.
  • Explain that what the student saw was two sets or groups coming together. First there were 3, then 2 more. A group of 3 and a group of 2 came together and now make a group of 5 altogether.
  • Explain to the student that in this unit you are going to help them explore putting groups together and finding how many altogether. The student can use the counting objects to act out the story.