I have developed an Excel workbook during the last few years. It contains a number of addition and subtraction exercises that help my students master those skills. I am sure that they can help you, too.

The prerequisites for the first exercise are not great. If you can recognise the ten basic numerals, know how to write numbers up to 20, and can add up on your fingers, you are ready to take on the challenge.

Now, in our normal numbering system, three and four always add to seven. In other words, 3 + 4 = 7. Although we all learn to add these numbers on our fingers it is important that, in time, we learn the answer. In this way we can solve problems quickly without having to stop and think about the mechanics of adding. Learning requires practice and that is what the workbook is for. It randomly generates worksheets that will help you learn to add quickly.

Watch this video to see how to use the first spreadsheet and then download the sheet and start practising!

Record your time for the first sheet so that you can see how you improve.

Most students take 1:30 to 4:00 minutes to complete the sheet when they start (the average seems to be about 2:15). In time, you will find that you know the answers without counting on your fingers. This will happen gradually and may take from 1-2 days to a few weeks depending upon how hard you practise! You will probably notice by this stage that you are saying the numbers in your head. Something like, "Three and four makes seven," or "Three and four, seven."

As you keep practising, you will start to write the answers without saying the names in your head. You will see the numerals '3' and '4' and know that the answer is '7.' When this happens, you will notice another big improvement in your speed. By this time, you should be taking less than 1:15 to complete the sheet (and possibly a lot less).

I have found that one or two students in every class of thirty will complete the sheet in less than one minute (after they have practised for a week or four). The best time that I have ever recorded for a student was 49 seconds. Time yourself and post your results in the comments section under my YouTube video or let me know directly. I would love to hear how you went!

Download the Excel Workbook here.

The worksheets help students develop basic addition/subtraction skills and rapid recall of addition/subtraction 'facts' through rapid drill work. A new and different worksheet is calculated every time the F9 key is pressed. This means that a different sheet can be printed for every child in a class or a different sheet can be printed every day to develop these skills. The sheets are designed so that most students will complete each one in under three minutes (and probably under one or two minutes).

The speadsheet is completely free and you are free to share it with friends but not to make money from it. Teachers may like to use it with their classes. Home educators might find it very useful to build solid addition skills in their children.