FREE Subtraction Choice Board

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

A while back, I wrote a post about incorporating mathematical reasoning into computation practice. In that post, I shared a free long-division choice board. Today, I am sharing a free 3-digit subtraction choice board to illustrate how easy it is to adapt tasks so you can use them over and over again.

I started with the division choice board I had already created pictured on the left. I had put thought into the types of problems I wanted to include on the board. There are three types of problems: (1) solve a division problem using your most efficient strategy, (2) explain if you agree or disagree with the way someone solved a problem, (2) use the digits 0-9 to create a division problem with certain criteria. Choosing any horizontal row or vertical column will give one of each type of problem. Avoid the diagonals, because choosing the diagonal from upper left to lower right results in only computation problems.

subtraction choice board

To create the subtraction choice board, I basically used the same problems but changed them to subtraction. I decided, however, to arrange the problems to cluster the most and least challenging versions of the problems together, making it a little easier to differentiate. The problems in the first column are the most challenging. They involve regrouping across multiple place value columns and the 0-9 problem is pretty dang hard! The middle column contains the least challenging problems. The regrouping for the computation problems is less complicated and the 0-9 problem is easier to solve. Now, I can tell the bulk of my students to choose any horizontal row or vertical column, but if I specifically want to challenge or support certain students, I can assign the columns to them.

subtraction choice board

One other comment about this choice board. Notice that students aren’t required to use the standard algorithm. Encourage students to use their most successful strategy. Also, consider placing an addition/subtraction chart in the workstation to support students who are still learning their basic facts.

Now that you’ve got the formula down, do you see how it would be pretty easy to duplicate the choice board for different skills? Remember, we want to work smarter, not harder!

Grab your free subtraction choice board here.


  1. Caitlin

    I love this choice board concept! Do you have any examples of ways to adapt this for first graders? Thank you!

    • Donna Boucher

      I’m glad you like it! I’m sorry, but I don’t have any examples for 1st Grade. You could use the same format I used for the division and subtraction boards but use 1st Grade problems and skills. So, instead of 3-digit subtraction problems, you could use subtracting within 20, for example.


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