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Use Addition and Subtraction to Solve Complicated Word Problems

In this worksheet, students will solve two-step word problems using addition and subtraction.

'Use Addition and Subtraction to Solve Complicated Word Problems' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Year:  Year 4 Maths worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Number: Addition and Subtraction

Curriculum subtopic:   Use Correct Methods to Problem Solve

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

In this activity, we are going to practise using addition and subtraction to answer some tricky word problems. 


In each question, we will have to do more than one calculation, so reading the question carefully is very important!


It can be useful to highlight/underline the important information when answering word problems, as much of the text is not needed in order to answer the question.

Highlighting helps us to focus on the bits of information that we are going to need.


girl thinking



Harley is saving up to buy a new scooter.


a boy on  a scooter

He receives £105 birthday money and saves £85.50 of his pocket money.

The scooter is on offer at £209.99


How much more money does Harley need in order to buy the scooter?

Can you see how the important information is highlighted?



We need to identify the key information.

Harley receives a total of £190.50 (£105 + £85.50)

The scooter costs £209.99


The question asks us to find how much more money Harley needs, so we need to find the difference, which means subtraction.

£209.99 - £190.50 = £19.49

Harley needs another £19.49


Column addition and subtraction would work well for these calculations. 

We must ensure we put each digit in the correct column.


Now let's look at another example.

There is quite a lot of information here, so the important stuff is highlighted for us.  

Remember​ to read the question carefully and think about what it is asking us to do.




Balloons cost £3.50 each. 

A balloon seller starts the day with 355 balloons.

By lunchtime, he has sold 27 balloons.

During lunchtime, he blows up another 40 balloons.

He only sells 3 in the afternoon.

How many balloons does he have at the end of the day?



First, we can work out how many balloons are sold 27 + 3 = 30

Subtract this from the starting number 355 - 30 = 325

Then add the number of balloons blown up 325 + 40 = 365

At the end of the day he had 365 balloons.


We didn't need to use the information about the cost of the balloons in this question.


Now, why don't you have a go at some questions like these? 

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