Subtraction Word Problems (1-step word problems)

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

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Related Pages
2-step Subtraction Word Problems Using Bar Models
Solving Word Problems Using Bar Models
Singapore Math
More 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. The block diagrams or block modeling method is used in Singapore Math.

Jessica has 1135 beads. 604 beads are red and the rest are blue. How many blue beads does she have?


1135 – 604 = 531

She has 531 blue beads.

James and Ken donated $2300 to a charitable organization. Ken donated $658. How much did James donate?


2300 – 658 = 1642
James donated $1642.

The price of a car is $2795 and the price of a motorbike is $1063. What is the difference between the prices of the 2 vehicles?

Subtraction Word Problem

2795 – 1063 = 1732

The difference between the prices of the 2 vehicles is $1732.

There are 967 chairs in a hall. During an event, 761 chairs were occupied. How many chairs were not occupied?


967 – 761 = 206
206 chairs were not occupied.

Examples of subtraction word problems


  1. 134 girls and 119 boys took part in an art competition. How many more girls than boys were there?

  2. Mei Lin saved $184. She saved $63 more than Betty. How much did Betty saved?

  3. John read 32 pages in the morning. He read 14 pages less in the afternoon.
    a) How many pages did he read in the afternoon?
    b) How many pages did they read altogether?

A visual way to solve world problems using bar modeling
This type of word problem uses the part-whole model.

Mr. Oliver bought 88 pencils. he sold 26 of them. How many pencils did he have left?

A visual way to solve world problems using bar modeling
This type of word problem uses the part-whole model. Because the part is missing, this is a subtraction problem.

There are 98 hats, 20 of them are pink and the rest are yellow. How many yellow hats are there?

Cayla did 88 sit-ups in the morning. Nekira did 32 sit-ups at night. How many more sit-ups did Cayla do than Nekira?

How to use bar modeling in Singapore math to solve word problems that deal with comparing?

Adam has 11 fewer lollipops than Hope. If Adam has 16 lollipops, how many lollipop does Hope have?

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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