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Inservice: Introducing +, - , x , ÷

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Getting started with solving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems begins by asking teachers to rethink their existing ideas of teaching the operations and providing opportunities for teachers to see that children can solve problems without being taught the symbols, number facts, or number sentences. 

Professional Development: Multiple Sessions

This sequence can be adapted to be longer or shorter but is designed for a series of sessions, each approximately an hour and a half in length.


Let’s support teachers to think about the operations, problems children can solve, and strategies they can use. Engage them in adding on to, challenging, and extending their current ideas.

  • Implement the Context Matters Activity.
  • Read Beginning Strategies for Problem Solving and discuss distinguishing features between Direct Modeling and Counting Strategies.
  • Analyze the Problem Types Chart available here. Identify the differences in action in the problems.
  • Ask participants to reflect on changes in their thinking about the operations as a result of this engagement. What questions remain?


Provide teachers the opportunity to use counting as a bridge to the operations. Connect to their own practice.


Support teachers to assess students’ strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems.

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