Subtraction Word Problems

These lessons look at some examples of subtraction word problems that can be solved in two steps, illustrating the use of bar models or block diagrams in the solution process.

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1-step Subtraction Word Problems Using Bar Models
Solving Word Problems Using Bar Models
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2-step subtraction word problems
We will illustrate how block diagrams can be used to help you to visualize the subtraction word problems in terms of the information given and the data that needs to be found.

A sports club had 2564 members. 130 members left the club after a year. How many new members should the club recruit in order to have 3000 members?


Step 1: Find the number of members the club had after a year.

2564 – 130 = 2434

After 1 year, the club had 2434 members.

Step 2: Find how many new members the club should recruit.

3000 – 2434 = 566

The club should recruit 566 new members.

Henry bought a shirt and a tie. The shirt costs $187 and the tie costs $45 less than the shirt. Find the change that Henry received, if he paid $200 for the tie.

Step 1: Find the cost of the tie.

187 – 45 = 142

Henry paid $142 for the tie.

Step 2: Find the change received.

200 – 142 = 58

He received $58 in change.

Examples of subtraction word problems


  1. 125 children took part in a mathematics competition. 54 of them are girls. How many more boys than girls were there?

  2. Ali collected 127 stamps. He collected 27 stamps less than his sister. How many stamps did they collect altogether?

How to solve a comparison subtraction word problems using bar models?


  1. June has $27.00 to spend on a trip to the amusement park. If she spend $9.00 on admission, how much money did she have left for food and games?

  2. Trevor had 106 action figures in his collection. He gave 12 away to a friend who was starting a collection. How many action figures did Trevor have left?

  3. Selena and Justin started out with an equal number of fans. Justin lost 15 fans and Selena gained another 45 fans. How many more fans did Selena have in the end?

  4. The Track Team made 425 candy grams to sell on Friday. They sold 75 more candy grams in the morning than they did in the afternoon. If all the candy grams were sold, how many candy grams did the Track Team sell in the morning?

  5. The Girl Scout Troop had 350 boxes of cookies to sell outside the grocery store. They sold 46 more boxes in the morning than they did in the afternoon. If all the cookies were sold, how many cookies were sold in the morning?

  6. Brooklyn scored 27 points in the basketball game. That was 12 points more than her friend, Cienna, scored. How many points did they score altogether?

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.
Mathway Calculator Widget

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