Addition Math Strategies Every 2nd Grader Should Know

6 addition math strategies every 2nd grader should know

So it’s time to teach your students 2-digit or 3-digit addition math strategies… which ones will you teach? Where do you start? Let’s break down 6 different addition math strategies you can use with your students, especially 2nd graders, all year long!

Before we begin, there’s one burning question I hear frequently: Should I teach addition math strategies without regrouping first?

The short answer is no, not necessarily! Before you ever start 2-3 digit addition, you need to make sure that your students have a solid place value foundation. As you’ll see in the 6 addition math strategies below, you can integrate problems with and without regrouping at the same time!

Head to this post if you’re looking for 2-3 digit subtraction strategies!

Six Addition Math Strategies to Teach 

There are six addition math strategies that students should practice. As you teach these strategies, students will see some overlap between them, and that’s exactly what you want! They may tackle tough problems using a variety of strategies.

Addition math strategies student reference charts
Be sure to download this freebie at the end of the post!

1.) Break Apart

Use place value to break down numbers into expanded form, then add them up! The example below does not have any regrouping, but this strategy can still be easily used with problems that require regrouping.

Image shows the break apart addition strategy

2.) Number Line

Start with the largest number. Then, make jumps to add the 2nd number. The example shows two jumps of 10, but if students are ready, they might make one single jump of 20 instead.

Image shows the number line addition strategy

3.) Add in Chunks

This is just like the number line strategy, only you aren’t using a number line. Keep one number the same (typically the bigger number), then slowly add the 2nd number.

Image shows an example of how to add in chunks

4.) Base Ten

Use base 10 models or drawings to add the numbers. Students should regroup the ones using their blocks or by circling ten ones.

Image shows the base ten addition math strategy

5.) Compensation

The goal of this addition math strategy is to make the problem easier to solve! Students will make a friendly number (10, 20, 30, 40, etc.) by moving a few ones from one number to the other number.

Image shows the compensation addition math strategy

6.) Standard Model

The last strategy is probably the one seen most frequently, but I prefer to spend more time on the first five strategies. Line up the addends vertically. Add the ones, then add the tens.

Image shows an example of a standard addition model

Resources to Help You Teach 2-3 Digit Addition

It can be difficult to find resources that include activities for students to practice these addition math strategies. That’s why I created this 2-3 digit addition unit! It includes posters and activities for many of these strategies!

Addition math strategies teaching resources and complete unit

Free Addition Strategies Chart

This one-page chart below is the perfect strategy sheet for your students to keep accessible. You can also use this to help you create your own anchor chart(s) with your students during mini-lessons!

Free addition strategies charts

This free chart includes a 2-digit version, a 3-digit version, and a blank version! Leave your email below and print your copy immediately!

Related Post: 6 Subtraction Strategies

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Free Addition Strategies Sheet!

This free chart includes a 2-digit version, a 3-digit version, and a blank version! Leave your email below and print your copy immediately!
addition strategies charts

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