Subtracting with Objects

Content Subtracting with Objects
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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.

Subtracting with Objects exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Subtracting with Objects.
• What is subtraction?

Hints

When we subtract, we start with a bigger number and end with a smaller number.

Here is an example of a subtraction problem.

Solution

Subtracting means taking one number away from another number to find out how many are left.

5 - 2 = 3

• How many leaves are left?

Hints

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.

Solution

There are 2 leaves left.

7 - 5 = 2

• Can you solve the problems?

Hints

Look 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.

Solution

Here 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.

Hints

Can 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 = ?

Solution

In 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?

Hints

How 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.

Solution

There 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*

Hints

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.

Solution

2

• 7 - 5 = 2
• 8 - 6 = 2
• 3 - 1 = 2
3
• 8 - 5 = 3
• 10 - 7 = 3
• 3 - 0 = 3
4
• 10 - 6 = 4
• 7 - 3 = 4
• 5 - 1 = 4