In this activity, we will use column subtraction to subtract five-digit numbers.

**For Example:**

Subtract the numbers, remembering to exchange if needed:

**53,653 - 21,974**

1. Begin with the ones column. Exchange so the 5 in the tens column becomes 4 and the 3 in the ones column becomes 13, so 13 - 4 = 9.

2. Moving to the tens column, exchange so that the 6 in the hundreds column becomes 5 and the 4 in the tens column becomes 14, so 14 - 7 = 7.

3. Next look at the hundreds column. Exchange so that the 3 in the thousands column becomes a 2 and the 5 in the hundreds column becomes 15, so 15 - 9 = 6.

4. Subtract the thousands 2 - 1 = 1.

5. Subtract the ten thousands 5 - 2 = 3.

**Answer: 31,679**

The example above involved quite a lot of exchanging between the columns, so you can use this to refer back to if you find any of the following questions tricky. Simply click on the red help button at any time to see this page again.