n the previous section,students modeled subtraction with the blocks andPlace mats.Through your questions and their recordings,they reflectedon this process.In this section,they predict what will happen when theyseparate the blocks.Students should repeatedly separate collections of blocks of varying amounts.The goal is to consistently predict the result of any separation before they physically perform the task.This focus on predic-tion will lead to successful work without the blocks.When the representationsand expectations are internalized,the actual blocks become unnecessary.
Predicting the Difference
As a demonstration, present the example 459 – 125. Have volunteers recordthe subtraction example on the whiteboard and then represent 459 on theCounter. Ask,
How would you set the dials to tell how many will be left when the blocks are removed?
As with addition, students set the dials and then cover them so as not to con-fuse their thinking while they separate the blocks. After removing the blocksto the Counter mat, the students uncover the dials to check their prediction.Repeat with an example that requires regrouping. Note that during theprocess of separating, students may self-correct. When predicting the differ-ence of 452 – 238, for example, a student might first set the dial for blocks-of-10 to 2; then, after looking at the numbers in the ones place more closely,change the tens dial to 1. Checking predictions with the blocks promotes thisself-correction.Students follow a similar procedure when working with a Place mat. Presentan example such as 364 – 232. Have the students stop once they have repre-sented 364 and say,
Set the Digit Flip Cards to tell how many blocks will be left on the mat after you remove 232.
Students then turn the flip cards face down (similar to covering the dials onthe Counter), remove the blocks indicated, and turn the cards face up again tocheck their predictions.Repeat with an example that requires regrouping, such as 452 – 129. Whenregrouping is involved, students may find it helpful to record, at the top of themat, the number of blocks in a place once new blocks have been regrouped.
Predicting the outcome of separating groups of blocks,and finding differences without the blocks