App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2015
Teachley: Subtractimals
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Teachley: Subtractimals

Multi-strategy math game builds comprehension and fact fluency

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Subjects & Skills
Math, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Multiple strategies help kids gain an understanding of subtraction, which, in turn, helps build fluency.

Cons: Using the number line can be a bit tricky, and some kids could benefit from more frequent hints.

Bottom Line: Despite some minor touchscreen challenges, this math game is an excellent and comprehensive way for kids to learn and practice subtraction.

In the classroom, the game could work well as an introduction to subtraction. You can start by providing an email address and creating a free classroom account, which will allow you to track individual student progress for up to 30 students. Have kids work individually or take turns in pairs to complete a level, and then reinforce what they learned through a class discussion. As a follow-up, kids can write their own subtraction problems and have their partners draw models to show how to solve the problems.

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In Teachley: Subtractimals, kids complete subtraction problems, earning blocks along the way. They begin with the tool round: They're given a subtraction sentence to complete and can choose an appropriate strategy to find the answer. There are three strategy choices: count on (where kids count blocks), count back (where kids count backward), and memory (where kids rely on memorized math facts). After kids answer correctly, another subtraction sentence appears and the process repeats several more times. If kids choose the memorization tool and get the answer correct, they earn a golden block. If they choose another strategy and get the answer correct, they earn a green block. And if kids get the incorrect answer, they get a red block.

After the tool round, kids move to the speed round. They have to quickly complete subtraction sentences, one at a time. Kids get two chances, along with hints that relate subtraction to addition, to quickly finish each subtraction sentence before a golden block drops into a boiling pot and disappears forever. For each correct answer completed on the first try, kids earn a golden block. They earn green blocks for second-try answers and red blocks for incorrect answers. Teachers can create classroom accounts to track which subtraction facts kids have memorized and which facts still need work.

Teachley: Subtractimals teaches kids how to subtract using a variety of strategies while addressing a handful of Common Core math standards. Kids can learn how to subtract using a conceptual approach that incorporates three strategies: count on, count back, and memory, in which kids subtract mentally. They choose the correct answer using a number line, which further promotes a conceptual understanding of the concept. Kids can use hints in the speed round if needed, and earning blocks to reveal a mysterious illustration is a fun way to keep them engaged. The speed round, where kids race to beat the clock, is particularly engaging. The interactive number line is useful for visualization, but it's sometimes difficult to tap the correct answer, so kids may get it wrong even if they know the correct answer. Still, overall, this is an exciting and comprehensive tool for teaching kids early subtraction strategies.

Overall Rating


Kids will enjoy collecting blocks to solve a mystery, plus the interactive models and the speed round will keep them especially engaged.


A conceptual approach through the use of models and various strategies (count back, count on, and memory) helps kids build a solid understanding of subtraction while promoting fluency.


Teachers can create classroom accounts to track student progress. Brief, animated instructions help guide kids through the game. Better hints could help kids who need more support.

Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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Featured review by
Jennifer K. , Other
Newark City Schools
Newark, United States
Subtraction with Supports
The developers from Teachly have done it again and made another high quality math app. This is a great app to teach students about subtraction. Just like it's addition app, it provides students with fun and engaging practice. It has wonderful strategies for students to learn and apply to subtraction math facts. It's a great math app that your students will want to play over and over again.
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