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# Subtracting Using the Constant Difference Strategy

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2 MB|28 pages
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What is Constant Difference and Why Should Students Have Experience with This Strategy?

• When you are subtracting two numbers, the difference between the two numbers is actually the distance between the two numbers on a number line. If you add or subtract the same amount from both the subtrahend and the minuend, you are moving an equal distance on the numberline so the distance between the two numbers remains the same or remains constant. You have simply moved that same distance to a new place on the numberline.
• The constant difference strategy is useful when one of the numbers in the subtraction equation is close to a “friendly” number allowing the difference between the two numbers to be calculated mentally.
• For example 63 – 28 can be thought of as 65 – 30 if two is added to both of the numbers being subtracted. It is fairly simple and efficient to count back by ten 3 times to 35 rather than writing the numbers down and using the trading method of the standard algorithm.

This resource asks students to match cards with numberlines and equations illustrating the use of the constant difference strategy with their differences. Two worksheets are included. I sometimes use this activity as a center area and other times, I may use it as part of small group instruction especially with those students in need of intervention at tier 1, tier 2, or tier 3. Answer keys are included for the matching activity and the worksheets.
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Total Pages
28 pages
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