Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Collecting Eggs (Making Subtraction Sentences)

At my son’s first trimester parent-teacher conference, among the few things my son could use a little extra practice on were math sentences. Huh? When I was in school those were called word problems. Well, now that I’ve dated myself, I’ll get on with it.

Here’s a fun way to practice that I made for my son. This will likely be the only time my son does “farm chores!”

WARNING! If you or anyone in your family uses a 7-day pill box, PLEASE make an adaptation of this game using small bowls, a modified egg carton, etc. No one in my home uses these to dispense medication; if we did, I certainly would not encourage my child to “play” with them as we’ve done here.

To make the game, I printed hen (and one rooster) stickers on sticker paper. I cut them out and added them to the lids of two 7-day pill boxes. Make sure that neither of the “chicken coops” has any of the same hens repeated.

Now fill the boxes with beads (aka eggs) of assorted colors and sizes. The seven-slot coop that has the rooster sticker should have less than seven beads in each slot. (REMEMBER: The rooster does not lay eggs; his slot should be empty.) The other coop must have more than seven beads in each slot.

Then, peel the sticker paper and adhere the hens/rooster wheel to a piece of chipboard (think empty cereal box) for sturdiness and cut it out. Poke a small hole in the center, thread a small paperclip onto a brad, and thread the brad through the hole, separating its “legs” at the back of the wheel. Make sure the paperclip spins freely; it’s your arrow.

Finally, print the Collecting Eggs worksheet and sharpen a pencil.

Download a 2-page PDF of the stickers, wheel, and worksheet here.

It’s time for your son/daughter to sharpen their math skills.

To complete the worksheet, your child will spin the paperclip twice. The first time, he/she will count the eggs in the first coop (the one without the rooster) that are under the hen the paperclip lands on. Spin again, and count the eggs in the second coop for the hen that the paperclip points to. Now answer the question. How many more eggs did the first hen lay than the second?

Keep spinning, keep counting, and keep making subtraction sentences!

Want a great hen-and-egg-themed book to read with this activity? Check out Dora’s Eggs. We loved it!


  1. This is awesome...thanks for making this. You are now pinned! You keep making me think you are in fact a genius.

    1. Aw, thanks, Jackie! Hopefully after some more work with this game, I won't be hearing that my son still needs practice making math sentences at his next parent-teacher conference!! :)

  2. You really, seriously are a genius! I get so giddy about your activities every time I stop by. I can't get over how you always find a way to make them fun. My kids always grumble doing extra educational work at home, but with your ideas they don't mind at all. :)

  3. This looks like such a fun game - my daughter will love it. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Hello
    My name's Buba from blog Bajdocja and I wanted to let you know I've awarded you the "Premio colors" and "Appreciation award".
    Good Luck