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Year 2 Maths

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Subtraction: Taking Away Leaves the Difference

robots

Subtraction means taking a number away. Pretend you have five toy robots. You take away 2 toy robots and give them to a friend. How many are left?

There were 5, but you took away 2. 5 take away 2 is 3. Or you can say: 'Five minus two equals three.'

The number you have left after you subtract is called the difference. So, the difference of 5 - 2 is 3. What is the difference of 7 - 4? The difference is 3. You can practise subtraction by counting backwards. What does 9 - 4 equal? You want the number that is 4 less than 9, so you can start at 9 and count backwards 4 numbers, like this: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5. So, 9 - 4 = 5.

We learn the subtraction facts from 0 to 20 in What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know. Practise your subtraction facts until you know them without having to count backward. Practise writing and saying the subtraction facts for numbers from 0 to 20, and do this many times. With practice, you will learn them so well that you don't have to stop and work them out.

What happens when you add zero to a number? It remains the same. So, what is 8 + 0? Yes, it's 8. What do you think happens when you subtract zero from a number? When you subtract zero, you take away nothing, so you get the same number: 5 - 0 = 5.

Now, try these problems on your own:

12 - 0 = ____

43 - 0 = ____

13 - 4 = ____

20 - 6 = ____

12 - 8 = ____

17 - 11 = ____


This activity is adapted from page 256 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

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