Using Base 10 Blocks to Subtract 2 Digit Numbers
Basics on the topic Using Base 10 Blocks to Subtract 2 Digit Numbers
Subtraction using Base Ten Blocks
We can subtract numbers within 100 using base ten blocks along with other numbers, but in this text we are practicing 2 digit subtraction with base ten blocks. We will focus on twodigit numbers subtracting one from the other. That means we will be subtracting the tens place and the ones place of two numbers. How do you use base ten blocks to subtract? Let’s take a look at the example of subtraction with base ten blocks in the next section.
Subtraction using Base Ten Blocks – Example
They started with fortyeight boxes of pizza, and the sneaky squid took twentyfive. Let's look at this example of column subtraction using base ten and subtract twentyfive from fortyeight to see how many boxes of pizza are left. When subtracting twodigit numbers, we can use base ten blocks on a place value chart to help.
Fortyeight in a place value chart looks like this:
Tens  Ones 

4  8 
Twentyfive in a place value chart looks like this:
Tens  Ones 

2  5 
The first step is to represent how much pizza they started with. Since there is a four in the tens place, we put four tens in the tens place.
There is an eight in the ones place, so we put eight ones in the ones place.
The second step is to subtract twentyfive starting with the ones place, so subtract five from eight. If we take five ones from the ones place, we have three left.
Next, move to the tens place and subtract two TENS from four tens. If we take two TENS from the tens place, we have two left.
Fortyeight minus twentyfive is twentythree.
Subtraction using Base Ten Blocks – Summary
When you practise base ten blocks subtraction, follow these steps:
Step #  What to do 

1  Represent the number you started with on the place value chart using base ten blocks. 
2  Take away blocks, by first subtracting the ones place and then the tens place. 
3  What remains is the answer. 
Want some more subtraction with base ten blocks practice? You can find base ten block subtraction worksheets along with interactive base ten block subtraction exercises and further activities also on our website.
Transcript Using Base 10 Blocks to Subtract 2 Digit Numbers
Mr. Squeaks and Imani have been in Italy and are bringing some pizza and lasagne home. Oh no, it looks like this sneaky squid is hungry too!
"Subtracting TwoDigit Numbers Using Base Ten Blocks"
They started with fortyeight boxes of pizza, and the sneaky squid took twentyfive.
Let's subtract twentyfive from fortyeight to see how many boxes of pizza are left.
When subtracting twodigit numbers, we can use base ten blocks on a place value chart to help.
The first step is to represent how much pizza they started with.
They started with fortyeight boxes, so we'll use base ten blocks to show it on the place value chart.
Since there is a four in the tens place, we put four TENS in the tens place.
There is an eight in the ones place, so we put eight ONES in the ones place.
The second step is to subtract twentyfive starting with the ones place, so subtract five from eight.
If we take five ONES from the ones place, we have three left.
Next, move to the tens place and subtract two TENS from four tens.
If we take two TENS from the tens place, we have two left.
Fortyeight minus twentyfive is twentythree.
Mr. Squeaks and Imani have twentythree boxes of pizza left on the boat.
Now let's see how much lasagne they have left.
They started with eightysix boxes of lasagne, and the sneaky squid took fiftytwo, so we need to solve eightysix minus fiftytwo.
First, represent eightysix on the place value chart using base ten blocks.
What number is in the tens place?
There is an eight in the tens place, so we put eight TENS in the tens place.
What number is in the ones place?
There is a six in the ones place, so we put six ONES in the ones place.
The second step is to subtract fiftytwo starting with the ones place, which means we subtract two from six.
What is six minus two?
If we take two ONES from the ones place, we have four left.
Next, we subtract the tens place, which means we subtract five TENS from eight tens.
What is eight TENS minus five tens?
Three tens, so eightysix minus fiftytwo is thirtyfour.
Mr. Squeaks and Imani have thirtyfour boxes of lasagne left on the boat.
Remember, when you subtract using base ten blocks, the first step is to represent the number we started with on the place value chart using base ten blocks.
The second step is to take away blocks, by first subtracting the ones place and then the tens place.
What remains is the answer.
Mr. Squeaks and Imani still have enough pizza and lasagne to enjoy when they get home, but there's just one question:
What did the sneaky squid do with all of that food?
Using Base 10 Blocks to Subtract 2 Digit Numbers exercise

Can you order the steps to subtract two digit numbers?
HintsIf we were solving this subtraction number sentence, we would start like this.
After taking away the ones, you would be left with this.
This is what we would be left with.
Solution First, represent the number we are starting with on a place value chart using base ten blocks.
 Take away the ones.
 Take away the tens.
 What remains is our answer.

How many gelato cones do Mr. Squeaks and Imani have left?
HintsLook at the base ten in the picture. How many ones would be left after subtracting?
Look at the base ten in the picture. How many tens would be left after subtracting?
This is what it would look like if we remove 3 tens and 3 ones.
SolutionMr. Squeaks and Imani have 25 gelato cones left.

Which box should Mr. Squeaks put the tshirts in?
HintsHow many tshirts did Mr. Squeaks buy? This is your starting number.
How many tshirts did Mr. Squeaks donate? This is the number you are subtracting.
Have a look at this base ten to help you.
SolutionMr. Squeaks has 45 tshirts left, so they should go in this box.
87  42 = 45

Can you find the answers to the subtraction problems?
HintsRemember the steps to solve the problem.
Begin by representing the first number using base ten blocks.
Here is an example of base ten blocks. You could draw some out using a line for a ten and a dot for a one.
Remember to subtract the ones and then subtract the tens.
Solution 86  64 = 22
 95  44 = 51
 74  51 = 23
 53  12 = 41
 65  34 = 31

How many ciabattas are left?
HintsWe started with 7 ones and have taken 4 away. How many ones are left?
We started with 6 tens and have taken 2 away. How many tens are left?
SolutionMr. Squeaks and Imani have 43 ciabattas left.

Mr Squeaks' trip to France.
HintsLook through each passage and find the key information. How many food items did Mr. Squeaks start with each time? This is the number you need to start with.
How many food items were taken away or dropped? This is the number you are subtracting.
Here is an example of base ten blocks. You could draw some out using a line for a ten and a dot for a one.
SolutionMr. Squeaks is so excited to be in France! He went to the bakery and bought 28 croissants. He was walking by the river when suddenly, out popped the sneaky squid! The squid took 17 croissants! Now Mr. Squeaks has 11 croissants left.
Mr. Squeaks went back to the bakery and bought 47 baguettes. He riskily decided to walk back along the river again, but that sneaky squid came back! The squid took 26 baguettes so now Mr. Squeaks only has 21.
Mr. Squeaks hurried on but stopped at a crêperie. He bought 56 crêpes but would you believe it, the sneaky squid popped up in the river beside him and took 34! Now Mr. Squeaks has 22 crêpes.
Mr. Squeaks couldn't believe it! He sighed and walked on and went past a restaurant. He went in and ordered 84 pieces of cheese! As the waiter was bringing them over, he dropped 52 pieces on the floor! Mr. Squeaks only got 32 pieces of cheese! And it wasn't even the sneaky squid that time!
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