Subtract up to 4-digit numbers

Learning focus

Learn how to subtract up to two four-digit numbers.

This lesson includes:

  • a catch-up quiz

  • one video

  • three slideshows

Quiz

To get started, let's see how well you know this topic already. Take the catch-up quiz below to find out.

Learn

Numbers can be subtracted using the column method.

Watch this video to learn about subtracting 4-digit numbers using the column method.

Numbers can be subtracted using the column method.

Let's have a look at using this method to subtract one 3-digit number from another.

Example 1

Start from the ones column: 8 - 5 = 3

Start from the ones column: 8 - 5 = 3

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Example 2:

Example 2

  • What is 343 - 237?

When using a place value column to subtract two large numbers, sometimes the second number will be larger than the first. This means it cannot be directly subtracted. You need to exchange a digit from the next column.

This example shows how it works:

Start from the ones column: 3 - 7

Start from the ones column: 3 - 7

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Example 3:

If you can subtract two three-digit numbers from each other, then you can use the same method to subtract two four-digit numbers!

You use the exact same method no matter how many digits are in the numbers.

Take a look at this example:

What is 4328 - 1436?

Start with the ones column and subtract the two numbers.

Start with the ones column and subtract the two numbers.

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Checklist

  • Use the column method to help subtract large numbers.
  • Separate the numbers into their place value of ones, tens, hundreds and thousands.
  • Start on the right with the ones column first.
  • Estimate your answer first and then always check your actual answer.
  • Subtraction is the opposite to addition, so subtraction can be checked by adding. For example, check that 182 - 37 = 145 by doing the sum 145 + 37 = 182
  • Look out for these words in problems: take away, difference, less than, minus, decrease, fewer than, reduce. They all indicate subtraction.

Play

Play Guardians: Defenders of Mathematica to learn more and sharpen your skills on this topic.

Guardians: Defenders of Mathematica

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