Red & Black Chips
Manipulatives and More

Red and black chips are often used to model addition and subtraction of integers. A red chip represents -1 and a black chip represents +1. 


Addition is modeled by combining collections of chips. A red chip and a black chip "cancel" each other, so that any collection of chips with an equal number of reds and blacks represents the number 0. Experiment a little by modeling each of these addition problems.


Subtraction is modeled by taking away chips. You will frequently have to add 0 chips (i.e. an equal number of red and black chips) in order to have enough of one kind to take away. Try these problems.

Steve Kifowit
Prairie State College
Chicago Heights, IL 60411