Beginning Addition with Signs

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11534

How do you know when to add numbers together? Just like signs on walls and streets tell you what to do, there are signs that tell you when to add! Learn about the "+" and "=" signs using pictures!


Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Whole Numbers and Operations

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What would you do if you saw an addition problem like this?

2 + 5 =

In the first Related Lesson, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned how to add using pictures.

If you haven't explored that lesson, please go to it now and complete it, then this one will be easier for you.

In this lesson, you will use pictures and numbers to add.

You will need to take out a sheet of paper and a pencil for this part of the lesson. Write down your answers to the problems using numbers. Number your paper 1 through 5 down the side of your paper. Then, solve the first two problems below:

Problem #1

  • Count the bears below. How many bears are there? Write your answer next to Number 1 and share what you wrote with your parent or teacher.

2 bears

  • Did you write the number 2 on your paper? Fantastic! There are two bears.
  • Next to the number 2, write an addition sign.
    • Do you see the addition sign (plus sign) below?
    • What letter does it look like?
  • Did you say the letter "t"? Great! Every time you see that sign, you should know to add the two numbers together.
  • Make sure you draw the addition sign on your paper next to the answer 2 you wrote.

addition sign

  • Great! You wrote your addition sign. Now you have "2 +" written on your paper.
  • How many bears do you see below? Count them and write your answer next to the plus sign:

3 bears

  • Did you write the number 3 next to your plus sign? Great work! There are three bears.
  • Your problem should say "2 + 3."
  • The next sign you need to write is the equal sign. This sign tells you the problem you just wrote has an answer. When adding, the equal sign tells you that the two numbers you are putting together will add up to the number found after the equal sign.
  • Write the equal sign next to your problem:

equal sign

  • The math problem you wrote should look like this: "2 + 3 =."
  • Now that you have your problem written and ready to go, count all the bears together. Write your answer after the equals sign.

bear equation

  • How many bears were there altogether? That's right! There were 5 bears altogether. Your addition problem should look like the one written below:

2 + 3 = 5

  • Does your addition problem look like the one above? Fantastic! You wrote your first addition problem.

Now it's time to get some more practice. You will write your next problem next to the number 2 on your paper.

Problem #2

  • Count the number of hats below and write that number on your paper:

3 hats

  • Did you count three hats? Great! Write an addition sign next to your number 3. Your problem should look like the problem written below:

3 +

  • After writing the first part of your problem, count and write the number of hats pictured below:

1 hat

  • Did you count one hat? Fantastic! Put the 1 next to the plus sign.
  • Now that you have both numbers for your addition problem, you are ready to find a solution. This means you will need an equal sign. Write the equal sign next to your 1. Your problem should look like the one below:

3 + 1 =

  • Wow! You are ready to solve your addition problem. Add the number of hats together:

hat equation

  • Did you count four hats altogether? Great work! You added 3 and 1 together and got 4 as your answer. Your final problem should look like the one written below:

3 + 1 = 4

For the remainder of this lesson, you will practice writing and solving addition problems. Move on to the Got It? section to continue practicing.

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