Work on subtracting within five with a free printable game. Grab this free subtraction bump game to build your students’ subtraction fluency skills.
In kindergarten, students should be able to add and subtract fluently within five. This easy-to-play game focuses on that skill and makes it fun.
This dinnertime subtraction game was inspired by Mrs. Wills Kindergarten. It has fish as placeholders on the gameboard – but look out! The all-too-hungry shark looks like he’s about to enjoy dinner.
Let me show you how to play it, how to make it, and give you the free download so you can use it in your classroom.
How to play
To play this game in your classroom you’ll need ten linking cubes (or other counters) each in two colors and two dice.
The end goal is to have all of your linking cubes placed on the gameboard first.
Students can play in partners or by themselves.
If playing by themselves, the student rolls the dice and subtracts the smaller number from the larger number.
Then they find the matching number fish on the game board and cover it up with their color linking cube.
They continue to roll, subtract and cover until all of the linking cubes have been placed onto the board. Then they win the game.
If playing in partners, students will take turns.
On their turn, the student rolls the dice and subtracts the smaller number from the larger number.
Then they find the matching number fish dinner on the game board and cover it up with their color linking cube.
Now – here’s where it gets fun. This is a bump-style game.
- If a fish with that number is open on the gameboard, simply put your linking cube on.
- If a fish with that number is covered by someone else’s linking cube, you bump it off. Their linking cube must go back to them and your piece now covers the space.
- If a fish with that number is covered by your own linking cube, you snap a second linking cube on top and lock the space. The other player cannot bump off the linking cubes. No more cubes can be added on top.
They continue to take turns rolling, subtracting, and covering (or bumping and locking) until all of their linking cubes have been placed onto the board.
Whoever places all of their pieces on the board first, and has none left – wins the game.
Now technically this is a “subtracting-within-six game” because the dots on a die go up to six, but statistically speaking most of the time students will be rolling to subtract within five.
Now that you know how to play, let’s look at how to make it.
How to make
Then, print the gameboard on colored paper or in color.
You can print the directions sheets on the back of the game or print them separately. There are instructions included for both single and two-player gameplay.
Laminate the game board mat or slip it into a plastic sleeve for longevity.
Add two dice and ten linking cubes each in two different colors.
If you want to give additional support to students, print the gameboard that has a ten frame built-in. This way students can use a dry erase marker to find the difference.
They draw dots to represent how many rolled on the larger number dice and then cross out the number of dots that match the smaller number dice.
Next, put all of your pieces together and store them together in a gallon-sized Ziploc baggie.
This game is perfect to put into rotation in your math games and activities center.
Let’s wrap it up
There you have it – a free shark and fish printable bump game to improve students’ subtraction fluency skills. I hope that your class finds this game fun and that you like what they’re learning.
You may also want another free bump game to use this year. Consider grabbing this free off-road subtraction bump game.
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