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Subtract Using the Column Method

In this worksheet, students will practise using the column method in subtraction calculations using up to three digits and three numbers. This will include borrowing tens or hundreds.

'Subtract Using the Column Method' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   Maths

GCSE Boards:   Pearson Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas, AQA

Curriculum topic:   Number, Number Operations and Integers

Curriculum subtopic:   Structure and Calculation, Calculations with Integers

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Subtracting using the column method can be a bit daunting - the concept of borrowing is a hard one to grasp.

 

If you follow these simple steps, you should manage it every time:

 

1) Line up your numbers using place value.

2) Start subtracting from the right.

3) If the bottom number is larger than the top number, you need to borrow from the next column.

 

 

 

Example 1: 47 - 32 (this one doesn't involve any borrowing)

47
-   32
 

 

Start with the units (7 - 2 = 5)

47
-   32
5

 

Move on to the tens (4 - 3 = 1)

47
-   32
15

 

 

 

Example 2: 843 - 269  

843
-   269
 

 

Start with the units 

You can't do 3 - 9 without getting a negative so we need to borrow from the tens column. 

If we take one ten away, we are left with 3 tens. 

If we add this ten into the units column, we not have 13 to work with rather than 3. 

We can write this process on the sum like this:

8 313
-   2 6 9
 

 

We now have to calculate: 13 - 9 = 4

8 313
-   2 6 9
4

 

 

Move on to the tens

Once again we cannot do 3 - 6 so we must borrow, this time from the hundreds.

Here is how we show this on the sum:

71313
-   2 6 9
4

 

We can now complete the sum: 13 - 6 = 7

71313
-   2 6 9
 7 4

 

 

Our final step is to subtract the hundreds

71313
-   2 6 9
5 7 4

 

 

Before you start this activity, make sure you have a pen and paper handy so that you can write out your subtraction columns and sums. 

How much is 85 - 63?

For the sum 87 - 24, does it matter which one we write on the top row of the sum?

Yes

No

How much is 58 - 29?

How much is 74 - 38?

How much is 247 - 35?

How much is 204 - 125?

When you are calculating 375 - 296, which columns will you be required to borrow to calculate?

Units

Tens

Hundreds

Consider this sum:

 

140 - 87

 

Now complete the sentence below. 

Units

Tens

Hundreds

Consider this sum:

 

295 - 136 - 24

 

Now complete the sentence below.

Units

Tens

Hundreds

How much is 753 - 291 - 341?

  • Question 1

How much is 85 - 63?

CORRECT ANSWER
22
EDDIE SAYS
A good one to start with here as we don't need to carry! If you subtract the units and then subtract the tens, you will reach the correct answer. Simple!
  • Question 2

For the sum 87 - 24, does it matter which one we write on the top row of the sum?

CORRECT ANSWER
Yes
EDDIE SAYS
It absolutely matters! When you are subtracting, you must keep them in the same order as the question. 87 - 24 and 24 - 87 will give totally different answers - one will be a negative number for a start!
  • Question 3

How much is 58 - 29?

CORRECT ANSWER
29
EDDIE SAYS
We're starting to get more complicated now. Did you spot that you needed to carry when you were subtracting the units here? If you borrow a ten, you will have 18 to subtract 9 from. However, you need to remember that you now have 4 tens in the second column, not 5!
  • Question 4

How much is 74 - 38?

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Another one where you needed to carry when subtracting the units. Did you spot that? If you borrow a ten from 70, then you will have 14 to subtract 8 from. Remember that you now have 6 tens in the first column though, rather than 7.
  • Question 5

How much is 247 - 35?

CORRECT ANSWER
212
EDDIE SAYS
No carries on this one - makes a refreshing change! Remember that it doesn't matter how long the numbers are, just follow the same three rules from the intro.
  • Question 6

How much is 204 - 125?

CORRECT ANSWER
79
EDDIE SAYS
Questions like this often catch people out! When you were subtracting the units, did you notice that you couldn't borrow from the tens (as they are at zero)? What can you do? That's right, borrow from the hundreds instead. If you borrow a hundred from 200, then you will have 10 tens in the next column. You can borrow one so that you have 14 in the units column to subtract 5 from. Remember that you now have only 1 hundred left, and 9 extra tens in the middle column.
  • Question 7

When you are calculating 375 - 296, which columns will you be required to borrow to calculate?

CORRECT ANSWER
Units
Tens
EDDIE SAYS
It's getting a little more complicated now. Did you spot that you needed to borrow when you were subtracting the units and the tens? 5 units are not enough to subtract 6 from and, likewise, 7 tens are not sufficient to subtract 9.
  • Question 8

Consider this sum:

 

140 - 87

 

Now complete the sentence below. 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? Like in Q7, you needed to carry when subtracting both the units and the tens in this question.
  • Question 9

Consider this sum:

 

295 - 136 - 24

 

Now complete the sentence below.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Another tough one. The trick here is to subtract the second number from the first, get an answer and then subtract the third number from this answer. Does that make sense? Let's give it a try in your final challenge!
  • Question 10

How much is 753 - 291 - 341?

CORRECT ANSWER
121
EDDIE SAYS
Did you do what we discussed in Q9? Remember to subtract the first two numbers initially and then subtract the third from this answer. Your first sum should have been: 753 - 291 The answer to this first step is 462. Then calculate 462 - 341. Good job! If you have not already done so, why not practise some column addition while you are on a roll?
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