1st Grade - Add Or Subtract In Word Problems

Addition and Subtraction
Add or Subtract in Word Problems
Write and solve number sentences from problem situations that express relationships involving addition and subtraction.
The student will be able to evaluate a problem situation and create a number sentence, either addition or subtraction, that they can use to solve the problem.

Sample Problems


Two ducks are in the pond. One flies away. How many are left? (2-1=1)


There are three cats drinking milk. One more comes. How many cats are there all together? (3+1=4)


A clown has five balloons. He gives three away. How many does he have left? (5-3=2)


The boy had two scoops of ice cream. He ate one scoop. How many does he have left? (2-1=1)


The girl went to the library a found three books she liked. She continued to look around and found four more. How many books did she find all together? (3+4=7)

Learning Tips


Problem Solving Fun: The great thing about learning to solve word problems is that you can find items to practice with almost anywhere! For example, the kitchen is a great place to practice this skill. Take a food items, such as grapes. You can create a verbal problem for your child and have them use the grapes a manipulatives to help solve the problem. For example, you may say, “I have 9 grapes, but Dad eats 2. How many do I have left?” You child would then need to count out nine grapes, take away two, and show you seven grapes. At this point, you can also discuss if the problem requires addition or subtraction. Eventually you can add a written component to this activity and have them create the addition or subtraction sentence that corresponds to the word problem.


Story Creations: Read your child’s favorite story with them. After sharing the story, you the characters from the story and parts of the story line to help create word problems for your child to solve. For example, if you and your child read the story “The Rainbow Fish,” you can create word problems based upon the story. An example problem would be, “Rainbow Fish has 11 scales. He gives 3 away. How many scales does he have left?” Have you child draw a picture and write the number sentence to match the problem and their illustration. (11-3=8)


Treasure Hunt: This activity is fun and motivating for the children. Design several clues in the form of word problems. After your child reads each clue they will need to create a corresponding number sentence to solve the word problem. If they are correct, you can give them the next clue that will lead them closer to the “treasure.” After your child has successfully created and solved the number sentences, lead them to the final clue, which will lead them to their “treasure.”


Word Problem Challenge: This is an activity that the entire family can participate in. Write down a variety of word problems, on blank index cards, that include members of your family, people that you know, pets, etc. Next, divide into two teams. Each team may work together to solve the word problem presented. Whichever team solves the problem correctly and can show a corresponding number sentence, they will receive a point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins!


Problem of the Day: On your refrigerator hang a sign that says “Problem of the Day.” Under the title write a problem situation that will require your child to create an addition or subtraction problem in order to solve the problem. Have a small bowl or basket available for them to place their addition or subtraction problem in. Invite the rest of the family to participate as well. At the end of the night review the problems and see who got the correct answers. You may also want to include some problems that are incorrect and then have your child explain why they are incorrect and then have them correct them.

Extra Help Problems


Two dogs are running in the park. Two more dogs join them. How many dogs are running all together? (2+2=4)


I had three candy bars. My brother ate one. How many do I have left? (3-1=2)


I have 2 pages of math homework and three pages of reading homework. How many pages of homework do I have all together? (2+3=5)


Four kids are playing on the slide. Two more kids come. How many kids are playing all together? (4+2=6)


There are 12 eggs in the egg carton. Three eggs are broken. How many eggs are left? (12-3=9)


My dad has 6 donuts. I ate 2. How many does he have left? (6-2=4)


There are 3 people in line waiting to ride the train. Five more people come. How many people are waiting in line now? (3+5=8)


There are 11 dog bones in a bag. Pete the puppy eats 3. How many bones are left? (11-3=8)


Sammy has 12 toy cars. His brother looses 5. How many cars does Sammy have left? (12-5=7)


There are 6 fish swimming together in the ocean. Nine more fish come to swim. How many fish are there now? (6+9=15)


I have 5 pieces of bubble gum. My friend gives me 6 more. How many pieces of bubble gum do I have all together? (5+6=11)


There are 29 leaves on a tree. Eleven leaves fall off. How many leaves are left on the tree. (29-11=18)


Susan has 15 balloons for her mom’s birthday party. She decides to buy 4 more. How many balloons does she have now? (15+4=19)


Mike has a 64 piece puzzle. He only has four more pieces to put together. How many pieces has Mike already put together? (64-4=60)


Emma got 12 roses for her birthday. Her friend bought her 12 more. How many roses does she have now? 12+12=24)


Eric went to the beach and collected 9 shells. His brother broke 8 of his shells. How many shells does he have left? (9-8=1)


I have a bunch of 16 grapes. I ate 6. How many do I have left? (16-6=10)


Suzie has 12 dolls. One doll breaks. How many dolls does she have left? (12-1=11)


I have 3 cats. My friend has 5 cats. How many cats do we have all together? (3+5=8)


I baked 10 cookies. I gave 3 cookies to my teacher. How many cookies do I have left? (10-3=7)


There are 5 birds fling in the sky. Two birds stop flying and sit in a tree to rest. How many birds are still flying? (5-2=3)


I go to the mailbox and find a letter from my aunt. The next day there are two more letters for me. How many letters do I have all together? (1+2=3)


My family goes to the movies and buys one bag of popcorn. My friend decides to go and buys 3 more bags of popcorn. How many bags of popcorn do we have all together? (1+3=4)


I went to Disneyland and brought my camera. I took 3 pictures of Mickey Mouse and 5 pictures of Goofy. How many pictures did I take all together? (3+5=8)


My friends and I want to have a snowball fight. We started with 14 snowballs. I threw 9. How many do we have left? (14-9=5)


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