 Subtraction Using the Column Method

In this worksheet, students practise using the column method of subtraction. Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:

Curriculum subtopic:

Difficulty level:   QUESTION 1 of 10

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

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 at the units (7 - 2 = 5)

 47 -   32 5

Move onto the tens (4 - 3 = 1)

 47 -   32 15

Example 2: 843 - 269

 843 -   269

Start at the units

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

We now have to do 13 - 9 = 4

 8 313 -   2 6 9

We now have to do 13 - 9 = 4

8 313
-   2 6 9
4

Move onto the tens

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

 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

How much is 85 - 63?

For the sum 87 - 24, does it matter which one we write first?

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 require you to borrow?

Units

Tens

Hundreds

How much is 140 - 87?

Units

Tens

Hundreds

How much is 295 - 136 - 24?

Units

Tens

Hundreds

How much is 753 - 291 - 341?

• Question 1

How much is 85 - 63?

22
EDDIE SAYS
Good one to start with! We don't need to carry for this one, so we just subtract the units and then subtract the tens.
• Question 2

For the sum 87 - 24, does it matter which one we write first?

Yes
EDDIE SAYS
It absolutely matters. When you are subtracting, you must keep them in the same order as the question.
• Question 3

How much is 58 - 29?

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?
• Question 4

How much is 74 - 38?

EDDIE SAYS
Another one where you needed to carry when subtracting the units. Did you spot that?
• Question 5

How much is 247 - 35?

212
EDDIE SAYS
No carries on this one. Remember that it doesn't matter how long the numbers are, just follow the rules in the introduction.
• Question 6

How much is 204 - 125?

79
EDDIE SAYS
This one often catches people out. When you were subtracting the units, did you notice that you couldn't borrow from the tens (it's a zero) - you had to borrow from the hundreds?
• Question 7

When you are calculating 375 - 296, which columns will require you to borrow?

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?
• Question 8

How much is 140 - 87?

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

How much is 295 - 136 - 24?

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.
• Question 10

How much is 753 - 291 - 341?

121
EDDIE SAYS
Did you do what we discussed in Q9? Remember to subtract the first two and then subtract the third from this answer. Practice makes perfect! That’s another activity ticked off!
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