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How To Teach Subtracting of Integers for Seventh Grade Math

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

Do you want to know how to teach subtraction of integers with integer chips? You're totally in the right place.

Do you need to have a fast way to hand off intervention lessons to your para-educators?

Again, totally in the right place.

This article is Math intervention lesson on subtracting integers using integer chips, an excellent alternative for students who struggle with the understanding of adding opposite strategy or subtraction on a number line method. I will demonstrate a complete step-through lesson with integer chips and the power of zero pairs that you can implement in your classroom starting today.

Hi, my name is Bran Hicks, and I'm the founder of Teach Tastic Publishing and Teach Tastic IEPs, a place where teachers get differentiated training and materials for use in everyday classrooms just like yours.


Review academic vocabulary

As the teacher, you can begin this lesson with a review of the academic vocabulary:

  • integer

  • positive

  • negative

  • zero pairs


To ignite the previous knowledge with the lesson introduction example or a question. Give each student a set of 10 integer counters and a 10 frame. Tell the students that the red side is negative and the yellow side is positive. Display one negative counter in the top box of the 10 frame. Display one positive counter in the bottom of the 10 frame. This is a zero pair. It is one positive number added to a negative number to equal zero.

When adding zero pairs to an equation, they do not change the equation because they cancel each other out. It's like adding a zero.

Repeat with multiple number combinations to illustrate that it will always equal zero when even amounts of positive and negative numbers are added to each other.

Guiding Question

"How do zero pairs help visualize integer addition or subtraction?"