Exchange Game with Subtraction

This Math lesson is designed for grades 1 to 5 to help them learn addition.

The addition means joining things together. It is one of the first math concepts children learn. It forms the foundation for all other math operations. In this video, we will learn addition using the exchange game.

This exchange game activity is played to demonstrate how 10 units can be exchanged for a ten-bar. 10 ten-bars can be exchanged for a hundred-square, and 10 hundred-squares can be exchanged for a thousand-cube.

How to Introduce Exchange Game Addition to the Child?

  1. Place a unit mat in front of the child. Ask them to name the units.
  2. Start counting the beads in the unit area of the mat.
  3. When you get to 10 units, have the child exchange them for 1 ten bar.
  4. Place the exchanged ten-bar in the tens column. Repeat step-3 until you have fewer than 10 units.
  5. Count the remaining units (if there are any).
  6. Start counting the tens.
  7. When you get to 10 ten bars, have the child exchange these for one hundred square.
  8. Place this with the hundred squares column. Repeat step-7 until you have fewer than 10 tens.
  9. Start counting the hundred.
  10. When you get to 10 hundred, have the child exchange them for one thousand cubes.
  11. Place the exchanged a thousand cubes in the thousands column. Repeat step-10 until you have fewer than 10 hundred.
  12. Start counting the thousands.

Allow the child to experience how easy the addition is with the exchange game.

Invite the child to repeat the activity by solving an addition problem using the exchange game as shown in the video.

For more Math resources, visit:

Video created by: Sharmeen Niazi (Archgate Montessori Academy, Plano, TX)

Elementary | Math | Exchange Game with Addition (English)

This video has been added and used with the author’s permission. It is also available on the author’s YouTube, here.


  • Elementary
  • English
  • Math