We’re learning about the letter M around here — and even though my Five has known his letters for quite some time, I took the opportunity to create some letter-M math: Monster Missing Addends! These would also work great as a classroom learning center in October.

**What are missing addends? **

4+ __ = 10. The missing addend is 6.

**When are children ready to find missing addends?**

Finding missing addends is a skill typically taught in first grade, but younger children are ready for it when:

- they have basic number sense (can count correctly and understand greater/less than)
- they have a solid understanding of how addition works
- it helps – but is not necessary – if children know their basic addition facts

**How do you use Monster Missing Addend Flip Cards?**

1. You will find missing 45 addend cards for the numbers 2-10 in the download. Print the cards on cardstock. If you desire, laminate for durability.

2.** Print the question mark cards**, or cut cardstock and make your own. Then tape each question mark over the final picture on each flip card. I used clear packing tape.

3. Give your child a stack of flip cards and 10 counters. You may want to start with just the simpler cards — those whose sums are 5 and under, for example. My just-turned-Five loves math, so I took a chance and gave him the whole stack with the expectation that we would work until he tired of them. For counters, I brought out our colorful power magnets and a magnetic baking sheet – because they always add to the fun.

4. Start with a simple card to explain the skill.

*“If we have 3 monsters all together — and 2 are standing here — how many are hiding under the question mark?” *

5. Have your child check his answer by flipping over the question mark.

6. Follow your child’s lead. If the simple cards frustrate him, set the monster flip cards aside. Try something else — find his favorite snack and tell him you have two of them. “One is right here in my hand. How many are behind my back?” Increase the number of snacks as he starts to understand the concept.

On the other hand, your child might surprise you and go for the challenging cards right away. My Five decided he would go for the entire stack of 45 cards – a definite surprise for this mom!

7. Watch how your child solves the problems. Talk about other ways to solve them. Here are ways that we came up with:

a. Here’s one my Five thought of himself – with spotty success! Count the monsters and then count up to the final number by pointing to spots on the question mark. If you can keep this number in your head, it’s your answer. In the picture he counted 2 monsters. Then he counted 3,4,5,6,7 by pointing to random spots on the question mark. He tried to remember that he had pointed five separate times, so that the answer was five. This worked sometimes, but we needed different strategies!

b. Use your fingers. I know, I know, this isn’t something we want to be doing for the long haul – but for my Five it’s just right.

c. Count out the total number of items using manipulatives. Separate into two groups and count the second group.

For more strategies for solving missing addends, check out this lesson I gave to my daughter when she was in kindergarten.

If you’re interested in printing the pages for certain numbers, here’s the breakdown:

- page 1 … Terms of Use
- pages 2-3 … missing addends for #2-4
- pages 4-6 …missing addends for #5-6
- pages 7-8 …missing addends for #7
- pages 9-13 …missing addends for #8-9
- pages 14-16 …missing addends for #10
- pages 17-21…question marks

**More learning fun**

© 2013 – 2016, Anna Geiger. All rights reserved.

Ashley says

Cute idea! I was wondering how I would teach my hands on kiddos, but I think the manipulation of the cards may help! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

Anna Geiger says

You’re welcome – thanks for checking it out, Ashley!

Crystal says

I love this teaching idea. Thanks for sharing at my linky party this week. I just shared with my facebook fans and I’m headed over to pin it now! 🙂

Anna Geiger says

Thanks so much, Crystal!

Malia {Playdough to Plato} says

I love this fun, hands-on way to teach kids about missing addends! I’ll definitely be using this when my 3.5 year old gets a little bit older. Thank you for the fun freebie. Pinning!

Anna Geiger says

Thank you, Malia – I’m very honored that you stopped by! Your blog is so inspiring. Congratulations on that new baby girl! My oldest (6) is hoping for a sister, but after three little brothers in a row I don’t think she has her hopes up :).

Jill says

What a fun hands on way to teach, and perfectly timed for Halloween too! Thank you for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop 🙂

Anna Geiger says

Thank you, Jill!

Megan says

Love this! Thanks for sharing it! I can’t wait to make it for my kiddo!

Anna Geiger says

You’re welcome, Megan – thanks for checking it out!

Leslie Corney says

Hoping to add interest to addition with your missing monster addend cards. Thank you for the free printables.

Anna Geiger says

You’re very welcome, Leslie!

Cher says

Thank you for such a great idea! My little boy needs high visuals to keep from clamming up. I came to the computer looking for high math visuals and God had me open up your email first. Thank you so much!

Anna Geiger says

That’s so great to hear, Cher 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!

Iliana says

God bless you! For years I have searched online resources to help my nephews in their studies and believe me there have been many sites that have helped me, but this is the best. For me it is the best ever, second to none.

Thank you for your interest in helping people like me who need an extra hand to help our children and best of all, its incredible free resources.

Anna Geiger says

Hello, Iliana! I’m so glad you are finding things here to help your nephews. You are very generous in your praise. :). I hope you keep finding things that you can use!

Daniela says

This is adorable! Thank you so much. In fact, your son’s idea to count random places on the question mark is fantastic. If you make the question mark dotted (with 10 dots) instead of a solid line, it may help. He could either cross off the number of monsters already present and the remaining number of dots would be his answer… or he could count up as he did, but using the dots to help him keep track of how many numbers he counted. Hope this makes sense and helps improve this awesome resource!! Thanks again!

Anna Geiger says

That’s a very cool idea, Daniela – thanks! Updating these isn’t on my to do list right now, but I’ll keep that in mind for the future. Have a wonderful Christmas!