Subtracting tens and units

An introduction to subtracting tens and units.

For more information on how to open PDF files, read the BBC Webwise guide to Adobe Reader.

Image of Subtracting tens and units factsheet

Quick tips for tutors

  • N1/E2.3; N1/E2.4
  • Use the factsheet to introduce partitioning as a method of subtraction. The term ‘partitioning’ does not have to be used, but refer to splitting the numbers.
  • Numbers should be split into tens and units. Use diagrams to illustrate how numbers can be split into more manageable numbers. Explain that larger numbers are just made of smaller and familiar numbers. Splitting makes them easier to use.
  • Work through this calculation example and provide further examples until learners are confident with the method. Use blocks, coins, number line or other objects if support is needed to explain subtracting numbers from 10.
  • Explain the technique of inverse calculations to check results (e.g. checking subtraction by adding the subtracted number to the answer).
  • Discuss examples of when subtraction has been used by the learner. Are there any tips they can take from the factsheet to help them in future?