Adding Numbers

Directions: Fill in the blanks with numbers that make the equation true.

4 + 5 = ___ – ___



If I cover the right side of the equation, what is 4 + 5 the same as?  So, how much more do we need on the right side to make it the same as 4 + 5?


Many possibilities. As long as the difference is 9.
Some of the solutions are:



and so on…


How many different sets of numbers can go in there?

Source: Nanette Johnson

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  1. I don’t see how this is an “open middle” question. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to ask the child how many ways can we make this equation true (4+5= _ + _ )? What if we changed the “+” on the right to a “-” ? Then how many answers could we get? These questions could really get kids thinking.

  2. I really liked the problem as it was for my 1st grade daughter- it let her develop a different understanding of the equal sign, and with a variety of examples tried she demonstrated her thinking in different ways which grew in sophistication.

  3. no it does not

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