Activities to Teach Students to Complete Addition and Subtraction Equations With Integers

As a math teacher, teaching your students how to complete addition and subtraction equations with integers can be quite challenging. But since it is a core concept in math, you need to ensure your students understand it really well.

The following are some activities that can help your students master addition and subtraction equations with integers:

1. Integer War

Integer War is an excellent game to help students understand how to add and subtract integers. To play, you will need a deck of cards, with the jokers removed. Assign the following values to each card:

– Ace = 1 or -1
– King = 13 or -13
– Queen = 12 or -12
– Jack = 11 or -11
– Ten = 10 or -10
– The remaining cards represent their face value.

Then, divide the class into pairs and have them play against each other. Each player draws two cards, and they add or subtract them, depending on the equation you gave them. The player with the highest sum or the correct answer wins.

2. Number Lines

Number lines are a great visual aid that can help students understand integer addition and subtraction. Create a large number line on the board or poster paper, with positive numbers on one side and negative numbers on the other.

Then, ask students to solve an equation, such as -3 + 5. Have them start at -3 on the number line and then move five spaces to the right to reach the answer, which is 2. Similarly, you can use the number line to teach subtraction equations.

3. Real-Life Scenarios

You can also help your students master integer addition and subtraction by using real-life scenarios to show how it’s used outside the classroom. For example, you can give them a scenario where they need to add or subtract integers to solve a problem.

Suppose they want to buy a toy car for $10 from a store, and they have a coupon that takes $3 off the price. Put the equation on the board and ask them to solve it. The equation would be 10 – 3 = 7. In this way, students can connect math to real-life scenarios and understand how it works.

4. Online Math Games

Recent studies have shown that playing online math games can improve a student’s math skills. Therefore, you can incorporate online math games into your teaching to make learning more fun.

Some excellent online games out there that can teach integer addition and subtraction include Hooda Math and Math Playground. These games will help students develop their skills and also help them enjoy learning math.


Equations with integers are a fundamental part of math, and it’s crucial for students to master it. Teachers can help them do this by using the activities mentioned above. These will help students understand how integers work, and as they become more confident, they’ll be able to solve equations with ease. Remember, practice makes perfect, so encourage your students to practice these activities until they can solve equations without difficulty.  

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