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Sometimes I find myself racking my brain to get my students to "buy into" what we are learning about.  This is fairly easy to do in reading because they LOVE to read, but some of the skills we have to cover in math seem to get repetitive and boring.  I've made it my mission in the 5 years that I have taught 2nd grade to make math meaningful and FUN for my students.  No two years ever look alike.  I'm constantly changing and revamping my lesson plans.  I believe that is SO important because our students do not look the same from year to year, PLUS it's so important to keep up with best practices and new strategies.

Well, that brings me to regrouping.  I've mentioned this on my blog, but in Texas we still teach with the algorithms.  I realize this isn't the case for every state, but in Texas we do both algorithms and number sense strategies.  And, let me just say that we have been focusing on addition and subtraction with regrouping for SEVEN weeks now!  Seriously, it seems like the longest unit ever, but I really feel like my kids "get it" for the most part.  Needless to say, it's difficult to make regrouping fun for seven whole weeks.  

I was at the grocery store and ran by the band aid aisle.  At first I was going to get them for the ever-so-popular contraction surgery that many people do.  Then I thought...hmmmm, could I use them for subtraction with regrouping??  After about 15 minutes (literally) I finally picked out the band aids that I thought my students would like the best... and that would give me most bang for my buck!  And, let me just say... they LOVED it!  They were all, "Do we actually get to use these??!!"  We talked about how we have to tear these poor numbers apart so it only makes sense to give them a fun band aid for a change!

I quickly wrote a subtraction equation on a colored piece of paper (simply because colored paper makes everything more attractive!) for each set of partners.  The reason I didn't have my students write the equations is I needed the numbers to be large and spaced out. 
 Then, I clipped three band aids to the card.  This helped me pass things out in a jiffy!  My students had to work together and discuss every step of the problem before solving it.  The communication was key because they need to understand why they are doing what they are doing!
 Here's a few other things I've done to help get my students excited about regrouping...

Letting students who discuss and work well together be the teachers for a problem:
 Flapbook Sorts (just allowing them to color these however they want ups the interest level!)
Pocketbooks!  My students worked with their partners to solve all of their problems before sorting!
 And, who doesn't love an ice cream sundae??!!  We made these on Friday to review addition with regrouping.  My students had to total up their purchase before they were able to put the sundaes together.  This was a bit tricky for some, but each student was able to add up 6 3-digit numbers!  I actually used my "Make A Fraction Sundae" unit for this activity.  I quickly made a recording sheet, my students solved their problem on the back of heir recording sheets, and I stapled it to the paper so that you can flip it up and see their work!
I'm always thinking of new ways to increase the interest level, so if you have any other ideas please comment below!

Oh, and did you see our Instagram Hop this weekend??!!  Well, we have.....


Thank you to everyone who participated!  We plan on doing these a lot more often, so make sure to follow @bloghoppin on Instagram!


  1. Super cute idea!! Will add this to my list!! I was wondering do you do one activity (like the band aides) then have students go to their centers???

    1. No, normally we do a group lesson, then an activity like above for partner work, and maybe a couple of independent problems before they go to math stations!

  2. What a fun and memorable idea!!!