Exchange Game with Subtraction

This Math lesson is designed for the grade 1 to 5 to help them learn subtraction.

Subtraction is one of the second math concepts children learn as it also forms the foundation for all other math operations. In this video, we will learn subtraction using the exchange game.

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

How to Introduce Exchange game Subtraction to the Child?

1. Place a unit mat in front of the child. Ask them to name the units
2. Tell them a story about a king who had gold in the form of a thousand cube.
3. A knight asks the king to give him one unit of gold.
4. The King went to the bank and asked the bank to exchange a thousand cube for 10 hundred squares.
5. Place 10 hundred squares in the hundreds column. Still, he doesn’t have one unit of gold.
6. So he again goes to the bank to exchange a hundred square for 10 ten-bars.
7. Place 10 ten-bars in the tens column. This time also, he is short of a unit of gold.
8. He again goes to the bank to exchange a ten-bar for 10 units.
9. Finally, he had 10 units of gold. He then called his knight and gave him a unit of gold which he asked for.
12. Start counting how much quantity of gold is left with the king.

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

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

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

Elementary | Math | Exchange Game with Subtraction (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