8 Strategies That Will Make Subtraction Easy

Do you spend a lot of time teaching the addition strategies but a lot less time on subtraction?

No matter what country you teach in,  you will find a mathematics standard that says something like, ‘Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental math strategies’. This means we need kids to have automatic recall of both their addition and subtraction facts.


Teaching a range of subtraction strategies is important if we want kids to have mastery over the subtraction facts to 20.

Subtraction Strategies

The main strategy for teaching the subtraction facts is to have children relate them to known addition facts. Of course, this means that the addition facts must be well known before attempting to teach the subtraction facts. If you would like to read more about teaching the addition strategies you can do that HERE.

When children understand the relationship between addition and subtraction they will find it easier to master their subtraction facts. We can do this by introducing children to the think addition strategy – “I know that 3 + 4 is 7 so 7 – 4 is 3.” Teaching children about number fact families is the perfect way to show this link.

But it’s important that children are not reliant on only one strategy and that we teach them a range of strategies that they can use.


Teaching a range of subtraction strategies is important if we want kids to have mastery over the subtraction facts to 20.


You will find that many facts will also have more that one strategy to use. 10 -3 is both a count back and take from ten facts; 7 – 4 is both a near doubles subtraction fact and a count up fact. Children should always use the strategy that is easiest for them and this might even just be using the think addition strategy.


Subtraction flip books help kids remember their strategies.


Games and activities

Each time you teach a new strategy you’ll want to reinforce it with a range of games and interactive activities.


subtraction strategies for the subtraction facts


Give kids time to practice the strategies in fun and inviting ways. Games and fun activity sheets are a great way to increase kid’s confidence in performing simple calculations.


Subtraction games are great for learning the subtraction facts.


When you make math learning fun and engaging, you take away the myth that math is too hard! Kids feel empowered by their achievements and are more likely to have the confidence to try more complex equations.


Subtraction strategies are great for learning the subtraction facts.

Grab a pack

If you would like all the subtraction strategies you should teach in one easy to use pack, you can find it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


Teaching the subtraction strateiges



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