The Place Holder Concept is derived from the PartWhole Concept . Quite frequently, questions involving the PlaceHolder Concept can be easily solved if the placeholder appears on the right side of an addition or subtraction statement.
For example, 19  7 = ___
However, if the placeholder were to appear on the left side of the equation, it would present a great challenge to some kids. When children first start learning the four operations of Math, they were taught that the "+" sign means "plus", "add" or "the sum of". Similarly, the "" sign means "minus", "subtract" or "the difference between".
So it should not surprise you when your kid think that he/she needs to add up the 2 numbers in the following question:
___ + 7 = 19
Likewise, they would think that they should subtract the smaller number from the greater number in the following question:
___  7 = 21
If your kids are older or have mastered the concept of Algebra, they would most probably not have any problems with it. However, for younger kids, we can introduce a more concrete approach  the Model Method.
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