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National Curriculum: Addition and Subtraction - Year 6 - Activities

Created on 14 October 2013 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 13 February 2014 by ncetm_administrator


Programme of Study statements Activities
perform mental calculations, including with mixed operations and large numbers bullet    
solve addition and subtraction multi-step problems in contexts, deciding which operations and methods to use and why   bullet  
solve problems involving addition and subtraction use estimation to check answers to calculations and determine, in the context of a problem, levels of accuracy     bullet

Activity A

Present the children with problems such as:

  • Taznim measured two lengths of material. One measured 3.45m and the other 2.65m. How much longer was the longest? What is the total length?

    Discuss mental calculation strategies that can be used to answer these, for example complementary addition for the subtraction, number facts and partitioning for addition.

  • Louis poured 1998ml of water into one bucket and 2550ml into another. How much water did he have? How much more was in the second bucket?

    Discuss suitable mental calculation strategies, for example, rounding and adjusting for both addition and subtraction.

Teachers could decide on the mental calculation that they wish the children to rehearse, practice and then make up problems for them to answer. Common mental calculation strategies for addition and subtraction include:

  • Partitioning and recombining
  • Doubles and near doubles
  • Use number pairs to 10 and 100
  • Adding near multiples of ten and adjusting
  • Using patterns of similar calculations
  • Using known number facts
  • Bridging though ten, hundred, tenth
  • Complementary addition

Activity B

Set problems such as this for the children to solve:

Sammy wanted to buy a DVD player for £326.98 and a DVD box set for £49.50. How much money will she need? How much more will the DVD player cost?

Encourage the children to use the method they think best to calculate with these numbers, e.g. the column method, rounding and adjusting (£326.98 + £50 – 50p), sequencing (326.98 + 40 + 9 + 50p).

Give the children a set of 0-9 digit cards. They pick five, make a five-digit number and write it down. They then use those five cards to make up another number. They find the total of the two numbers and then make up a problem using their numbers and calculation. They could do the same for subtraction.

This Nrich activity asks children to solve a subtraction calculation where the numbers are represented by letters.

Activity C

The children could be presented with problems such as:

  • Kieran was saving to buy a laptop for £465.98 and a printer for £126.78. How much money does he need to save?
  • Maddie saved £1987.50. She wanted to buy a new TV. It cost £1268.45. Has she enough money left to buy a games console costing £474.99?
  • The children could be given a selection of amounts of money, e.g. £852.79, £1089.50, £60.98, £284.99. They could pick two of the amounts and find their totals and differences. They could then make up problems to go with their calculations.

For each problem, ask the children to check their answer by rounding the amount to the nearest pound or £10. They could also use this method to estimate what the answer might be at the beginning.


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