Tools to Help Teach 3-Digit Addition and Subtraction

Blog post on the best tools for teaching 3-digit addition

It’s about that time! Teaching 3-digit addition and subtraction requires patience and practice. If you can find effective practice tools, your students will build their skills until they’ve reached mastery. So, today, I am going to talk about some of the best tools for teaching 3-digit addition and subtraction.

Create Interactive Anchor Charts

Interactive Anchor Chart for teaching 3-digit addition

First, I want to talk about anchor charts. We cannot underestimate the interactive anchor chart. With multi-step processes like 3-digit computation, students will need clear visuals, simple steps, and repeated practice.

Creating a simple anchor chart, like the one above shows the students how to set up their problem, reminds them of the rules on the sides, and can be used repeatedly. Be sure to allow space for regrouping, too. This method helps students visually see when regrouping is appropriate! I would recommend laminating a poster like this one and keeping post-its nearby for the continuous opportunities for practice!

When it comes to regrouping, the Post-it note method is so fun. If they add two numbers but get a 2-digit number… the act of cutting apart that Post-It note to represent regrouping can really help kiddos visualize.

Gamify with Splash Learning

Splash games for 3-digit math practice

After students have learned about the process of 3-digit addition and subtraction, they will need practice. Variety in practice can ensure student skill retention. So, I suggest using learning games for part of their skill application. Splash Learning is a great tool for 3-digit addition and subtraction. With games specific to the skill, students can play and practice computation at the same time. There are even digital manipulatives, like base-ten blocks, place value charts, and more!

Link: Splash Learning Addition Games

More Gamifying Fun games for practicing 3-digit addition and subtraction

There is more gamifying fun over at! With a free account, you and your students will have access to skill-specific games. Not only will students be able to practice their 3-digit addition and subtraction, but they will also be motivated by the game-like activities. These tools were designed for students to work on math concepts that are connected. For example, in the game above, students will be practicing 3-digit addition and place value! Click the link below to get to all of the games. Then, you can filter by level and skill.

Link: Games!

Pull Out Those Trusty Base-Ten Blocks

Base-ten blocks, manipulatives for practicing 3-digit addition and subtraction

Subsequently, one of the best tools for teaching 3-digit addition and subtraction is the base-ten block. Take it back to the beginning with hands-on manipulatives so that students can practice addition with visual and tactile elements. Not only do base-ten blocks help students actually compute answers, but they also greatly increase students’ understanding of place value. Students will better grasp the concepts of regrouping and borrowing when they understand base-ten!

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Use a Digital Open Number Line

3-digit addition digital activities- computer showing base-ten activities

Finally, open number lines are a great tool! With 3-digit addition and subtraction, some students will better understand the visual of moving a number line. Additionally, this tool lets students work within one place value set at a time.

For example, if a student is adding 325 and 142, the student will start at one of the numbers on the number line: 325. Then, add the hundreds: 100, making it 425. Next, add the tens: 40, making it 465. Finally adding the ones: 2, coming to their answer, 467.

So, an open number line can be helpful for many of your students. The digital open-number line above is great practice for your kiddos to access from school or home!

Suggested Resources For 3-Digit Addition & Subtraction

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