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.

There are two content pages in this lesson that outline how to add and subtract large numbers. The lesson first describes three rules that apply to adding using the standard process. Students will learn to line up the numbers vertically and match place values. Next they will add numbers beginning in the ones place. Finally, they will regroup if they need to. The lesson outlines two examples step by step to help solidify students’ understanding.

Students will then learn the rules for subtracting. They will discover that they are exactly the same rules that they used for adding. They will line up numbers and align place values, subtract beginning with the ones, and then regroup if needed. There are two more examples here that explain how to subtract step by step.


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.

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.