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Worksheet Maker and Subtraction Strategies

© R. Mirshahi


  • This resource covers a few valuable strategies that students can use for subtraction. Choose the subtraction strategy you wish to practise. You can use this resource to teach these strategies. Use the pen tool to annotate right on the questions to model these strategies with the students. Each time you will get a different set of questions custom designed for each specific strategy. Just click the back button and select your activity again to change the questions. You can click the eye button to reveal/hide the answers. You can print each activity on two pages. Make it double-sided to save paper!

  1. Doubles and Halves: Students benefit from knowing the double facts such as 7+7=14 or 9+9=18. If you know these facts you can use them in subtraction as well. For example 14-7=7. Students must come to the realization that doubles are always even numbers.
  2. Count back: If you are subtracting 1, 2, or 3 from any number no matter how large, all you have to do is to count back from the big number. For example 24-3 = 21 by counting back from 24 (23, 22, 21). Primary students can use a 100 chart or an appropriate number line to help them.
  3. Find the missing number. Use fact families to solve these problems. The missing number could be the first, second or third (Minuend, Subtrahend and Difference). This is a great introduction to algebra.
  4. Basic Subtraction: It is beneficial to know these basic facts by heart. This skill is necessary when subtracting any number.
  5. Count down by 10: Subtracting multiples of 10 is just like subtracting simple 1-digit numbers. For example, 90-70=20 because 9-7=2.
  6. Count down by 100: Subtracting multiples of 100 is just like subtracting simple 1-digit numbers. For example, 500-300=200 because 5-3=2.
  7. Subtract 10: Subtracting 10 from any number is easy like 39 - 10 = 29. On a 100 chart imagine going up one square.
  8. Subtract 9: First subtract 10 then add 1. For example 76 - 9 = 67 because 76 - 10 = 66 and 66 +1 = 67.
  9. Subtract 11: First subtract 10 and then subtract 1. For example 68 - 11= 57 because 68 - 10 = 58 and 58 - 1 = 57.
  10. Use addition to help you subtract. 15 - 8 = 7 because 7 + 8 = 15. You can explore fact families when teaching this strategy.
  11. 2-Step Subtraction: Do it in 2 steps. For 86-32, you can subtract 30 and then subtract 2. 86-30=56 and 56-2=54. You can explore place value and how we write numbers in expanded form.
  12. Subtracting 2-digit numbers: What mental math strategies are useful when subtracting larger numbers?
  13. Use a 100 chart to subtract. Remember: 1 square Up
    -10 and 1 square Back
    -1 See example below:100 chart to subtract.png
  14. Subtracting 3-digit numbers: What mental math strategies do you use when subtracting larger numbers?

These are just a few simple strategies. There are many more strategies and in real life, we have to choose the best one for the task at hand.

Suggested Lessons or Activities:

  • Students can print the worksheets or quizzes for themselves or their peers whenever they are ready. After printing the worksheet they can click the eye button to reveal the answers and print the answer sheet. It is a good idea for students to use the answer sheet to mark each other.

Special Features:

  • full screen (exit full screen when printing or typing)
  • date stamp
  • annotation for showing your work and the strategies you used
  • answer sheet (Click the eye button.)
  • printable (Exit Full Screen when ready to print. or when you want to type in the instructions and the name.)

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