Addition and Subtraction Terms


This lesson defines vocabulary terms for addition and subtraction problems. Examples are included to demonstrate which vocabulary word goes with each term in an addition or subtraction equation.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to have your students make a list of vocabulary words that we use for the answers to addition and subtraction problems.

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What our Addition and Subtraction Terms lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Addition and Subtraction Terms defines vocabulary terms for addition and subtraction problems. The lesson includes examples that demonstrate which vocabulary word goes with each term in an addition or subtraction equation. The vocabulary words included are: addend, sum, minuend, subtrahend and difference. You can teach this lesson in conjunction with other introductory math lessons. This lesson is for students in 1st grade and 2nd grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you will need for this lesson are chalk, bean bags, scissors, glue, and the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can gather the supplies, copy the handouts, and create tic-tac-toe grids if you decide to use them.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. An optional addition to this lesson is to have your students make a list of vocabulary words that we use for the answers to addition and subtraction problems. You can also include the vocabulary for multiplication and division problems. For additional practice, you can ask student to use this vocabulary throughout the school year. Finally, if you have more advanced students, you can include addition vocabulary terms into the game.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Addition Terms

The Addition and Subtraction lesson plan includes one content page. The lesson begins with addition terms. Addends are numbers that are being added to another number. Sums are the answers to addition problems. The lesson includes an example: 4 + 7 = 11. In this example, 4 and 7 are both addends, as we are adding them together. 11 is the sum, because it’s the answer. We also call sums totals.

Subtraction Terms

Next, the lesson covers subtraction terms. Minuends are the first number in a subtraction sentence, while subtrahends are the number taken away from the minuend. The difference is the answer to a subtraction problem. The lesson includes an example: 8 – 2 = 6. 8 is the minuend, 2 is the subtrahend, and 6 is the different.

It’s very important to understand math terms and vocabulary, because it helps you understand how to solve the problem. For example, if you know that an addend is missing, you automatically know that it’s an addition problem. If a questions asks you to find the difference, you know it’s a subtraction problem. Knowing this vocabulary also helps you discuss math problems.


The Addition and Subtraction Terms lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For the activity worksheet, students will play a fun game called Vocabulary Toss where they will first create a large tic-tac-toe grid using addition and subtraction vocabulary terms. They will write one word (from a list that includes the vocabulary words from the lesson and any addition terms you’d like to include) in each box of the grid. Once the grid is filled in with words, the teacher will mark a link two feet back from the grid. Students will then take turns throwing a bean bag onto the grid. They must define the word that their bean bag lands on.


For the practice worksheet, students will cut out the vocabulary words at the bottom of the worksheet. These words include addend, subtrahend, and sum. They will then paste them into the correct spots on the worksheet.


The homework assignment asks students to match the missing piece from addition and subtraction sentences to the correct vocabulary word.


This lesson also includes a quiz that you can use to test students’ knowledge and understanding of the lesson material. The quiz asks them to fill in the blanks in sentences using words from a word bank.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet, the homework assignment, and the quiz. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade



State Educational Standards

None for Grade 1, None for Grade 2

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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