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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Basic Number Grids Make Math Easy

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Simple number grids are a great math tool for young children. Grids allow children to clearly see numbers they are adding or subtracting, as their finger “jumps” from one number to the next. Grids consist of rows (across) and columns (up and down.) Using the number grid allows young children to add and subtract large numbers, without having to know about borrowing and carrying.

Often young children get “lost” on the grid by not continuing to the next sequential row. Color-coding is an easy way to correct that problem!

To better understand the following game directions,  print and reference the basic number grid from our “Print and Use Tools.” Our grid has already been color-coded for you. 

Here are some fun and easy math activities to practice on the grid with your child.

  • The main functions of the grid are “plus” (+) and “take away.” (-) Jumping “forward” in a row (to the right) is a plus function. Jumping “backward” in a row (to the left) is a minus function. I always tell my students that you don’t start to count until you make that first jump!
  • Ask your child, “If you start at 5 and you make 7 jumps forward (to the right) where do you land?” “Twelve, that’s correct,” Then write and show them the number model, (5+7=12.) Continue with more addition problems.
  • For subtraction ask your child, “If you start at 25 and make 8 jumps backwards (to the left) where do you land?” “Seventeen, that’s right!” Again, write the number model (25-8=17.) Continue with more subtraction problems.
  • Once your child is comfortable with the “forward and backward row” (right and left) functions of the grid, introduce the up and down columns on the grid.
  •  “Down,” (top to bottom) on a grid column is a plus ten function (+10.) “Up,” (Bottom to top) on the grid column is minus a ten function. (-10.)
  • Ask your child, “If your finger is on 23 and you make three jumps down where do you land?” “Fifty-three, that’s right!” Write the number model 23+30=53. Continue with more jumps "down" in different columns. (Adding by 10)
  • Vary the activity with jumps “up” for subtraction by 10. Ask your child, “If you start on 78 and make 4 jumps “up” where do you land? “That’s right 38!” Write the number model, 78-40=38. Continue with more jumps "up" in different columns (Subtracting by 10)

Number grids make math meaningful and fun. The more your child uses the grid, the better their addition and subtraction facts will be!


#5 Jody 2014-03-03 06:41
This was the most helpful thing I bet my time in it yahoo
#4 marcus 2012-10-23 22:23
good thing
#3 Mark Smith 2012-07-25 01:47
How do you complete number grid 442
#2 ella 2012-06-18 19:32
#1 areerata 2010-12-31 15:05

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