11) Subtraction

Bonds of 5: Building a Wall

11.1 Subtraction Building A Wall


Develop the concept of using bonds of 5 in subtraction equations, expressed verbally.


  • subtract
  • equals
  • part-part-whole


A little easier

Build a wall

Build a wall of 5 that requires students to use the commutative property of addition to identify two-part bonds. Use one of each block from 1 to 5. Keep this on the game board whilst playing.

Part-Part-Whole diagrams

Click to download the Bonds of 5 Part-Part-Whole Diagrams

10 Desk Visual

These part-part-whole diagrams  can be stuck to the top of student’s desk, as a desk visual, until students are fluent recalling these facts. Students with memory or processing difficulties can benefit from having visuals as permanent prompts.

Click this link to read Teacher Notes for more ideas about “Using Part-Part-Whole Desk Visuals” to support students.


Apply bonds of 5 addition and subtraction to writing equations in the next activity. Go to

Activity 12

Bonds of 5: Equation, Building