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1 = how many left? what s the difference? = 149 take away Maths in School minus Subtraction in School by Kate Robinson 2

2 Subtraction in School Contents Introduction p.3 Subtracting in everyday life p.3 Different words for subtraction p.4 Counting backwards p.5 Songs and rhymes p.5 Subtraction cannot be done in any order p.6 Number lines p.6 Blank number lines p.7 Counting on p.8 Counting on and number bonds p.8 Counting on and number lines p.9 Remembering subtraction facts p.9 Partitioning p.10 Partitioning to subtract p.10 Partitioning and bridging p.11 Partitioning and counting on p.12 The expanded method p.14 Column subtraction and borrowing p.15 Decimal numbers p.17 Subtracting decimal numbers p.17 Subtracting money amounts with decimal numbers p.18 Converting money amounts p.19 Negative numbers p.20 Subtracting negative numbers p.20 Resource sheets p.22 Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 2

3 Subtraction in School Introduction In this booklet, you ll find out how children are taught to subtract in school. You ll also find a range of games and activities that you can use at home to build your child s skills and confidence at subtracting. Subtracting in everyday life Real life is full of opportunities for children to subtract, e.g. lending some toys to a friend and calculating how many toys will be left, spending some money and working out how much money they should still have. Problems like this about real things that children can see and touch bring subtraction to life. Teachers often ask children to solve life-like problems because it s not numbers and signs on a page that children most need to deal with in life, but real events. The more we encourage our children to tackle such questions at home, the easier they ll find them both at home and at school. You can: Ask questions like: You have 3 toy cars. How many will you have left if you let Charlie play with 1? We had 15 of holiday spending money. We ve spent How much should we have left? 3 1 = Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 3

4 Different words for subtraction At home and at school, children will come across lots of different words that mean subtraction: take away how many left? minus how many more? less than less what s the difference? This can be confusing at first. For example, the word more appears to be about adding something on, so phrases like How many more...? in questions such as How many more does he have than you? can seem to call for an addition calculation. It takes lots of experience for children to remember that each time they hear these words they need to subtract. The more we use such words and phrases with our children, the easier they ll find it when they come across them in school. You can: Ask subtraction questions using a variety of phrases, e.g. You have 5 potatoes and Mina has 3 potatoes. How many more do you have? This sweet costs 10p and that sweet costs 15p. What s the difference in their prices? Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 4

5 Counting backwards Children are first taught to subtract by counting backwards. In this method, we start from the highest number and count backwards. Look at this example using fingers to help count back: 8 5 =? Start from finger 8. Count back 5 fingers See where we land: on finger = 3 Songs and rhymes Lots of songs help our children to count backwards. Just singing these songs with our children is a great activity. We can also show them how to use their fingers, or toys, as props to help with the songs. You can: Print out the Five Little Ducks song and picture cards on pages Cut out the five duck pictures. Keep them as they are, or stick them to cardboard, and help your child to use them as props as you sing it together. With your child, make your own props to go with other subtraction songs such as Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, There were 10 in the bed, Five Little Speckled Frogs, or just enjoy singing these songs together. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 5

6 Subtraction cannot be done in any order Unlike addition, subtraction calculations cannot be done in any order: 7 4 is not the same as 4 7 Children may need help remembering this. Number lines Children will move from subtracting real things, counters and pictures of things to subtracting written numbers. They ll practise lots of methods to make this easier, including the use of a number line. A number line is simply a line with numbers on it that can help with calculations. Look at this subtraction question: 7 4 =? Working backwards on a number line = 3 Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 6

10 Partitioning To help with subtracting larger numbers, children are often taught a skill called partitioning. Partitioning means splitting a number up into smaller bits to make calculations easier. Usually, we split numbers up into hundreds, tens and units. So, and 40 and 7 You can: Encourage your child to partition numbers over 10 that you see around you in shops, adverts, game scores, etc. Partitioning to subtract To subtract 347 from another number, say 598, we can do it in little bits rather than trying to do it in one go. Here s the calculation on a number line. Be aware that the calculation is going backwards from right to left along the number line, as shown by the arrows: = 251 Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 10

11 Partitioning and bridging Children don t just have to split numbers into tens, hundreds and units. They can split them in any way that s going to make the calculation easier. Many subtraction calculations involve having to subtract past a multiple of 10, e.g. 20, 30, 40, 100, 200, 300, etc. Let s look at this example: to calculate 74 7, we have to go past 70. Rather than counting backwards 7 from 74 in one go, many children will find it easier to use 70 as a bridge, or stepping stone, in the calculation They subtract to 70 first, which means using up 4 out of the 7, and then they subtract whatever is left out of the 7, so 3. This takes them to the final answer: 67. You can: Help your child if they are struggling with a subtraction question; look together for a multiple of 10 that could be a useful bridge, or stepping stone, to break up the calculation into easier steps. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 11

12 Partitioning and counting on Partitioning can also be used when you are using the counting on method of subtraction: e.g (or 635 +? = 784) Here are just some of the ways that children might choose to do this bigger calculation, using number lines and partitioning: Counting on = Or counting on again = Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 12

13 Or counting backwards = Or counting backwards again = You can: Help your child to explore a range of different subtraction methods on a number line. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 13

14 The expanded method Your child may be introduced to another subtraction method, sometimes called the expanded method. In this method, numbers are partitioned into hundreds, tens and units and placed in columns: becomes We start with the units. We cannot take 5 from 4 without using negative numbers, which children may not be familiar with at this stage, so we need to borrow one lot of 10 from the tens column and give it to the units column, like this: We can now take the 5 from the 14: 14 5 = 9 Next, moving to the tens column, we can take the 30 from the 70: = 40 Then, in the hundreds column, we take the 000 from the 700: = 700 Finally, we add the results together: = = 749 Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 14

15 Column subtraction and borrowing Children are shown how to place large numbers straight into columns (without partitioning) and then subtract one from another. This method is called column subtraction. Depending on the numbers in the calculation, children are sometimes required to use a technique called borrowing (you may also hear this referred to as exchanging or regrouping). The example below shows column subtraction and borrowing: Imagine we ve got 273 and we want to buy a bike for 145. To work out how much we d have left, we need to do a subtraction calculation: To do this we can put the numbers in columns like this: For calculations in columns, always line up the single units (the 3 and the 5 in this calculation), line up the tens (the 7 and the 4), line up the hundreds (the 2 and the 1) and so on. Start with the numbers on the far right in this case the units. So, our first calculation is 3 5. But we can t take 5 from 3 because 5 is greater than 3. So, we have to borrow: we take 1 lot of ten from the 7 lots of ten and add it to the 3 units, like this: The 7 lots of ten become 6 lots of ten and the 3 units become 13 units. So now our calculation is We can do this because 13 is bigger than 5: 13 5 = 8. We write the answer 8 under our units: Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 15

16 Next, we move to the tens. We need to take the 4 lots of ten away from the 6 lots of ten we have left: 6 4 = 2. We write the answer 2 under our tens: Finally, we move to the hundreds: 2 hundreds 1 hundred = 1 hundred. We write the answer 1 under our hundreds: = 128 If we buy the bike, we ll have 128 left. You can: Print the digits and lines on pages 26 27, cut them out and use them, instead of pen and paper, when trying column subtraction calculations. When they re ready, encourage your child to try column subtraction when shopping or budgeting. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 16

17 Decimal numbers Children will be introduced to decimal numbers. decimal point 3 12 whole things parts/fractions of things 3 12 is a decimal number: it has a decimal point. Digits before the decimal point (the 3) are whole numbers that represent whole things. Digits after the decimal point (the 1 and 2) represent parts, or fractions, of whole things. Subtracting decimal numbers Children are shown that we can also use column subtraction to subtract decimal numbers: When subtracting decimals using column subtraction, keep the decimal points lined up. Keep all the digits on either side of the decimal point lined up in columns too. Then complete the calculation just like a normal column subtraction, borrowing if needed. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 17

18 Subtracting money amounts with decimal numbers Money amounts that have pounds and pence, like 13.52, are decimal numbers. We can subtract money amounts in exactly the same way as any other numbers with decimals: You can: Encourage your child to try and add money amounts that include pounds and pence when they are shopping or budgeting. Print the digits and lines on pages 26 27, cut them out and use them, instead of pen and paper when trying column subtraction calculations with decimals and decimal money amounts. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 18

19 Converting money amounts Usually, money amounts are shown as pence, for example 94p, or as pounds and parts of pounds, for example In calculations with money amounts, all the amounts have to be shown in the same way. So, to calculate p, we can write both amounts as pence only: 367p 94p Or we can write both amounts as pounds and parts of pounds: To convert pence to pounds and pounds to pence can be quite straightforward; we just multiply or divide by 100. To change pounds to pence we multiply by 100: 3.67 becomes 367p To change pence to pounds we divide by p becomes 0.94 You can: Ask your child to convert the money amounts you see around you from pounds to pence or from pence to pounds. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 19

20 Negative numbers Eventually children will start to explore negative numbers. Negative numbers are not parts of things, or fractions of things. They are numbers less than zero missing things or things that we owe. (Numbers above zero are called positive numbers.) Children can find negative numbers easier to understand if they think of real-life examples: If I have no money and I owe you a pound, I have minus 1.00: 1.00 less than zero or nothing. Subtracting negative numbers Children will be shown how to subtract negative numbers. Concrete examples can help. Look at this seed tray: This blue seed tray has a smooth flat surface with no big mounds of soil and no big holes in the soil. We ll call that flat surface zero, or 0. So, at the moment our soil is at 0. But if we want to plant a flower, we need to take out some soil to make room for it. We ll take out one scoop: The soil in the blue seed tray isn t at 0 anymore. It s at one scoop less than 0, it s minus one scoop, or just 1. If we want to plant another flower, we take out another scoop, like this: So now we ve got two holes in the soil. The soil is now at 2 scoops, or we can just say 2. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 20

21 But what happens if we take away one of the holes? Perhaps we want to fill it up with soil again, or put our seedling in it. We have 2 and we re going to take away 1 hole, or 1. So the calculation is: 2 1 two holes take away So, we ll take away one of the holes: one hole We ve taken away one of the holes by filling it up with soil and now we only have one hole, or 1, left. So: 2 1 = 1 two holes take away one hole equals one hole The strange thing is that even though we did a take away calculation, we ve now got more soil: it only has one hole, or 1, instead of two holes, or 2. Because what we were taking away was a hole, or something missing, our answer has gone up. It can take children lots of time and practice to really understand how, and why, when you take away a negative number, the answer goes up, not down. You can: Use real things, e.g. soil in a seed tray or flower bed, thermometers, money boxes or bank accounts to explore negative and positive numbers with your child. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 21

22 Resource sheets Five little ducks 5 little ducks went swimming one day Over the hill and far away. Mummy Duck said, Quack, quack, quack, quack! But only 4 little ducks came back. 4 little ducks went swimming one day Over the hill and far away. Mummy Duck said, Quack, quack, quack, quack! But only 3 little ducks came back. 3 little ducks went swimming one day Over the hill and far away. Mummy Duck said, Quack, quack, quack, quack! But only 2 little ducks came back. 2 little ducks went swimming one day Over the hill and far away. Mummy Duck said, Quack, quack, quack, quack! But only 1 little duck came back. 1 little duck went swimming one day Over the hill and far away. Mummy Duck said, Quack, quack, quack, quack! But no little ducks came swimming back. No little ducks went swimming one day Over the hill and far away. Mummy Duck said, Quack, quack, quack, quack! And all 5 ducks came swimming back. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 22

23 Cut out ducks Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 23

24 Number lines Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 24

25 Number line counters 1 1 Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 25

26 Digits cards and lines for column subtraction Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 26

27 Digits cards and lines for column subtraction (continued) Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 27

28 Subtraction Bingo! (2 4 players) You will need: Subtraction question cards (pages 29 30) Subtraction Bingo cards, one per player (pages 31 34) What to do: Choose a bingo caller (can be one of the players). Give him or her the question cards face down in a pile. Give all players a Bingo card. The bingo caller turns over a Subtraction question card, holds it up and reads it out. If a player has the answer to the question on their Bingo card, they must shout out Bananas! or another agreed silly word before anyone else. The player who shouts out Bananas! first places the question card over the answer on their Bingo card. If someone shouts Bananas!, but doesn t have the answer on their Bingo card, they must miss a turn. If nobody has the answer on their card, discard it and pick another question card. When all the spaces on a player s Bingo card are covered, they shout BINGO! The first person to shout BINGO! is the winner. Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 28

29 Subtraction question cards Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 29

30 Subtraction question cards (continued) Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 30

31 Subtraction Bingo card Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 31

32 Subtraction Bingo card Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 32

33 Subtraction Bingo card Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 33

34 Subtraction Bingo card Oxford University Press 2014 Subtraction in School 34

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