Subtracting with Objects
Basics on the topic Subtracting with Objects
Subtraction to 10 with Objects
What is Subtraction with Objects? Subtraction means taking away one number from another number to find out how many are left. When we subtract with objects, we use touchable things to take the place of the bigger, first number we are subtracting from.This helps us see what happens when we take away an amount from what we first had. In maths, we use lots of touchable objects to help us represent numbers like counters. You can see an example of counters in maths in the illustration below:
Place value blocks and maths cubes are also objects we use for subtraction in maths. For revision, there is a representation of place value blocks in the illustration below:
In this text to this video about subtraction with objects, we use maths cubes to help us illustrate subtraction.
Subtraction with Objects – Example
To subtract with objects, begin by getting the number of objects needed, such as the maths cubes, this will represent the larger number. Then, take away the smaller number in the subtraction by taking away this many cubes. The cubes remaining will be the answer.
Let’s look at an example of subtraction (with numbers from 0  10) using objects. Right after hatching, Baby Dino gobbled down two of the five trees outside. So we need to find out what remains if we subtract two from five. If we solve five minus two, how many trees are left? To start, we use maths cubes to show the bigger, first number, five.
Then, we look at the second, smaller number, two. This tells us to take away, or subtract, two cubes from the five that we have.
Now, count the ones that are left. Three cubes remain, so the answer is three. We write it next to the equal sign.
Subtraction with Objects – Summary of Steps
Let’s review the steps for subtraction. Remember, you can use objects like math cubes to replace numbers. That way, you can visualise subtractions to represent numbers.
To subtract with objects:
Begin by using maths cubes to take the place of the first, larger number.
Then, look at the second, smaller number, to know how many cubes to take away.
Finally, count the cubes that are left and write your answer next to the equal sign.
Do you want to practise some more? You can find more interactive exercises, worksheets and further activities on subtraction with objects for reception after watching the video.
Transcript Subtracting with Objects
Mr. Squeaks and Imani have a terrible problem on their hands, they accidentally brought back a dinosaur egg on another time travel adventure! The egg hatched and this little guy is hungry! At the start of the week, Imani and Mr. Squeaks had five trees but the dino gobbled down two! And he keeps on eating!! Let's teach Mr. Squeaks and Imani all about, "Subtracting with Objects", to help them work out how many plants they have left! Subtracting means taking one number away from another number to find out how many are left. When we subtract with objects, we use real life items to represent the larger number that we are starting with. This helps us see what happens when we take away an amount from what we first had. In maths, we can use lots of real life items to help us represent numbers including: counters, place value blocks and maths cubes. Today we will use maths cubes to help Mr. Squeaks and Imani. Right after hatching, Baby Dino gobbled down two of the five trees outside. If we solve five minus two, how many trees are left? Let's try subtracting with objects to help! To start with, we use maths cubes to represent the bigger, first number, five. Then, we look at the second, smaller number, two. This tells us to take away, or subtract, two cubes from the five that we have. Now, count the cubes that are left, one, two, three! Three is the answer, so we write it next to the equals sign. There are three trees left. Next, Baby Dino chomped down four of the eight bushes! If we solve eight minus four, how many bushes are left? Begin by using maths cubes to represent the bigger, first number, eight. Then, we look at the second, smaller number, four. This tells us to take away, or subtract, four cubes from the eight that we have. Now, let's count the cubes that are left, one, two, three, four! Four is the answer, so we write it next to the equals sign. There are four bushes left. Oh no! It looks like the little guy has nibbled off five of the ten ferns now. Let's find out how many ferns are left if we solve ten minus five. How many maths cubes do we need to represent the first number? Ten! Now, look at the second number, how many maths cubes do we need to take away? Five! What number do we get when we count the cubes that are left? Five! Finally, write five after the equals sign. While Mr. Squeaks and Imani hatch a plan to take back their little friend, let's remember! Today we learned about subtracting with objects. Subtracting means taking one number away from another number to find out how many are left. When we subtract with objects, we use real life items to represent the bigger, first number we are subtracting from. To subtract with objects: Use maths cubes to represent the first, larger number. Then, look at the second, smaller number, to know how many cubes to take away. Finally, count the cubes that are left and write your answer next to the equals sign. "Oh thank goodness this plan worked!" "He nearly ate us out of house and home!" "You mean he nearly ate our house and our home!"
Subtracting with Objects exercise

What is subtraction?
HintsWhen we subtract, we start with a bigger number and end with a smaller number.
Here is an example of a subtraction problem.
SolutionSubtracting means taking one number away from another number to find out how many are left.
5  2 = 3

How many leaves are left?
HintsThere were 7 leaves to start with. Can you find 7 objects to help you? What do you do next?
Once you have 7 objects, you need to take 5 away. How many are left now?
For example, if there were 5 leaves to start with and 3 were eaten, there would be 2 left.
SolutionThere are 2 leaves left.
7  5 = 2

Can you solve the problems?
HintsLook at the first number in the number sentence. This is the amount of cubes there should be altogether.
Look at the second number in the number sentence. This is the amount of cubes that are crossed off or taken away.
For example, if we were solving 4  1 = ?, we would start with 4 cubes and take 1 away.
SolutionHere we can see the sets of cubes that match each number sentence.
 The first number in the number sentence is the total number of cubes.
 The second number in the number sentence is the number of cubes crossed out or taken away.
 The number of cubes left is the answer.
 7  4 = 3
 9  2 = 7
 9  6 = 3
 6  3 = 3

The day the pterodactyl visited.
HintsCan you write a subtraction problem for each question? How many were there to begin with? How many were taken away?
For example, in the first problem there were 9 fish to begin with and 7 were eaten, so we are solving 9  7 = ?
Can you gather some objects to help you to solve each problem? If not, use the pictures to help you.
SolutionIn a pond, Terry found 9 fish and ate 7 of them. There were only 2 left. 9  7 = 2
Terry then went searching for insects. He found 11 on the ground and ate 8! There were 3 left. 11  8 = 3
Imani tried to offer Terry 6 nails. After a little while, Imani returned for the plate and found 6 nails on it. Terry ate 0 nails. 6  0 = 6
To say thank you, Terry decided to leave Mr. Squeaks and Imani 8 flowers but unfortunately 5 blew away! They were left with 3 flowers. 8  5 = 3

How many trees are left?
HintsHow many trees did the dinosaur eat? This is the number of trees you need to subtract.
How many trees do you have left that are not highlighted? This is the correct answer.
SolutionThere were 2 trees left.
 To solve 6  4, we start with 6 trees and highlight 4 (the ones the dinosaur ate).
 We are then left with 2 trees.
 6  4 = 2*

Find the correct answer.
HintsCan you gather some objects to help you?
What is the first number in the number sentence? Start with this many objects.
What is the second number in the number sentence? Take away or subtract this many.
For example, if we were solving 7  6 = ?, we would start with 7 cubes and then take 6 away. 1 cube is left so that is the answer. 7  6 = 1.
Solution2
 7  5 = 2
 8  6 = 2
 3  1 = 2
 8  5 = 3
 10  7 = 3
 3  0 = 3
 10  6 = 4
 7  3 = 4
 5  1 = 4