Subtraction Strategies Worksheets

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Printable Calculation Strategies Worksheets:
Addition Strategies
Subtraction Strategies
Multiplication Strategies
Division Strategies

Subtraction Strategies Worksheets

Free printable and online math worksheets to help students learn how to apply the different subtraction strategies or short cuts to solving problems.

Subtraction is a fundamental operation in mathematics, and there are various strategies that can help make it more efficient for students. Here are some subtraction strategies and worksheets:

  1. Counting Up:
    Start with the smaller number and count up to the larger number. This strategy is useful when the numbers are close together.
    Example: 5−2. Start at 2 and count up: 3, 4, 5. The answer is 3.

  2. Fact Families:
    Learn & memorize the Fact Families of Addition & Subtraction
    Fact Family 10 (eg. 10 - 4)
    Fact Family Triangle (addition, subtraction)
    Fact Family within 20 (eg. 15 - 8)

  3. Subtraction is the Inverse Operation of Addition:
    Think of subtraction as the opposite of Addition. Subtraction is trying to find the missing addend.
    10 - 3 = ? is the same as 3 + ? = 10
    You can also use the inverse operation of addition to check the subtraction.
    Subtraction as an Unknown Addend
    Missing Subtrahend (eg. 6 - __ = 4)
    Missing Minuend (eg. __ - 3 = 5)
    Missing Number in Subtraction

  4. Number Line:
    Draw a number line and represent the starting number. Move backward on the number line to subtract the second number. Example: 9−2. Start at 9 and move two spaces backward on the number line. The answer is 7.

  5. Take from 10:
    The “Take Out From 10” strategy for subtraction is a method that helps students subtract numbers by decomposing the number to be subtracted into 10 and the remaining part.
    Take from 10

  6. Arrow Subtraction
    Break down one of the numbers into smaller chunks and subtract the numbers in steps.
    Arrow Subtraction

  7. Regrouping or Borrowing:
    Use regrouping or borrowing when subtracting in columns. If the top digit is smaller than the bottom digit, borrow from the next higher place value.
    Subtract 1-digit from Whole Ten (eg. 60 - 8)
    Subtract 1-digit from 2-digit (eg. 84 - 6)
    Subtract 1-digit from 3-digit (eg. 213 - 8)
    Subtract 2-digit from 2-digit (eg. 84 - 56)
    Subtract 2-digit from 3-digit (eg. 134 - 52)
    Subtract 3-digit from 3-digit (eg. 391 - 225)

  8. Subtract Across Zeros
    Use the box method when subtracting from a number that has several consecutive zeros.
    Subtraction across zeros (eg. 400 - 265)

It’s essential to learn multiple subtraction strategies, as different strategies may be more suitable for different situations or for different learners. Encourage students to choose the strategy that makes the most sense to them and that helps them solve subtraction problems efficiently.

Have a look at this video if you need help on how to use some of the subtraction strategies.

More Printable Worksheets

Try the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice various math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.
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