Multi-Digit Arithmetic – Addition and Subtraction


Multi-Digit Arithmetic – Addition and Subtraction explains how to solve add and subtract problems with numbers that have up to four digits. Students will learn the three rules that apply to addition and subtraction. The lesson provides students with lots of examples and opportunities to practice what they learned.

In the “Options for Lesson” section, you will find several suggestions or alternatives to apply to your lesson. You may, for example, want to have students use whiteboards to practice problems and show their answers to the class. You could also have students make a video of themselves teaching a younger sibling or other person how to add or subtract using the standard algorithm.

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What our Multi-Digit Arithmetic – Addition and Subtraction lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Multi-Digit Arithmetic – Addition and Subtraction teaches students how to add and subtract whole numbers with multiple digits using the standard method. The lesson will not include any numbers over four digits. There are lots of examples for students to practice with. By the end of the lesson, students should be able to add and subtract four-digit numbers easily. This lesson is for students in 4th 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 blue 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 needed for this lesson are two tokens, coins, and the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can gather the supplies and copy the handouts.

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. One optional addition to this lesson is to have students use whiteboards to solve practice problems, showing their answers to the class. You can also have students make their own video teaching their younger siblings how to add and subtract using the standard algorithm taught in this lesson. Finally, if you want more in-class practice, you can have students complete the practice worksheet during class and check the answers together.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Multi-Digit Artihmetic (+/-)

The Multi-Digit Arithmetic – Addition and Subtraction lesson plan includes two content pages. The lesson begins by explaining that an algorithm is just a standard process for solving problems. In this lesson, students learn the algorithm for adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers (numbers that have more than one place value).

Students first learn about the three rules for addition. The first is to line the numbers up vertically (up and down), making sure to match the place values. The second is to add numbers beginning with the ones place. Finally, the third rule is to regroup as needed. the lesson includes several examples. The first example problem is 423 + 218. Once the numbers are lined up vertically, we start by adding the ones, adding them together and regrouping as needed. We then move on to the tens and then the hundreds. The lesson shows each step with regrouping.

We use the same set of rules for subtraction. The lesson also includes several helpful subtraction examples, the first of which is 536 – 174. We line them up and start with the ones place, just like we did with the addition problem. The lesson shows each step in detail.


The Multi-Digit Arithmetic – Addition and Subtraction 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.


Students will work in pairs during the activity. The worksheet displays a table with six rows and columns. Students will use this table of 36 numbers as a board. The first person will drop two tokens on the board to find two numbers. The second person will flip a coin to decide whether the first person will add or subtract. Students will switch roles each time. You can determine how long to play the game.


The practice worksheet lists 12 equations. The first six require students to add the two numbers in the boxes. The second six require them to subtract the two numbers. Students will need to show their work, and there is plenty of space in the boxes for them to do so.


Similar to the homework, students will have to solve 12 problems. The first six require addition, and the second six require subtraction. They will again need to show their work.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. 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


4th Grade



State Educational Standards


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.