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How to Teach Subtracting Mixed Numbers With Regrouping Visually

Want to clearly teach your students how to subtract mixed numbers with regrouping? Check out this free interactive notebook.


Do you love teaching fraction or do you absolutely dread it? It may sound weird, but I love teaching fractions. They can be complex and simple at the same time, and they require me to think outside the box to get every child to understand them.

Table of Contents

One challenging skill is teaching children subtracting mixed numbers with regrouping. Face it. Regrouping is hard enough, but add fractions to that and it can be enough to send teachers and students through the wall.

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I’ve found that whenever there is a skill that requires a lot of steps, an interactive notebook approach can be very helpful for many students. Having the steps right there in a notebook give students a resource that they can come back to.

This interactive notebook for subtracting mixed numbers with regrouping has a step by step guide, and flip squares to guide the process.

First square:

This square is simply there to inform children what the problem is.


Second Square:

  • Our first step is to model the subtraction problem.Students look back at the problem, and color in the model to represent the number that they will be subtracting from.
  • Students then decide if they need to regroup.
  • If they need to regroup, have students take a marker and divide one of the wholes into parts. (This interactive notebook has already provided the parts, but you may want to talk about using the denominator as a guide for knowing how many parts they should use to break the whole apart.)
  • Now the students cross out the parts that need to be subtracted.
  • Finally, they have the answer!!!! Have students count up how many wholes are left and how many fractional parts are left. This is the answer.

Third Square:

Modeling subtraction of fractions is an important step so that children can visualize and understand the math they are doing. Equally important, children should be able to link the algorithm to the model. This third square allows the children to do this.

  1. Children look at the model that was colored in and write what the problem will look like once the regrouping is done. (To make this part easier you can have them write the problem before they subtract.)

2. Next, they write how many they are subtracting.

3. They solve.

4. Finally, they verify that the answer from the model and the answer from the algorithm match. If it does, well they are done. If not, time to figure out the misconception and fix it!

What you get with this freebie.

This freebie includes 10 problems for you and your students to work through. You also get a step by step instruction your students can glue into their math notebook to help them remember the steps.

So whether you love teaching fractions or if you dread it, this resource is here to make your life a little easier. You’ve Got This


Want to take a step back? Practice adding basic fractions with these fraction puzzles.


Ready to head to word problems? Try out these task cards from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


Need a little more practice? Try out these puzzles.

How to Teach Subtracting Mixed Numbers With Regrouping Visually

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