Classroom printables, activities & worksheets

Subtraction Strategies

If you're teaching subtraction strategies and need printable worksheets, math center activities and more, you are in the right place. Our expert teacher team has created hundreds of engaging subtraction resources that have been aligned to the curriculum. That means these resources will help you to help your students meet Common Core and state-level standards. What's more, each substractions strategies active, learning game, classroom poster, and worksheet has undergone a rigorous review by the teachers on the Teach Starter team to ensure they're student-ready.

What Is a Subtraction Strategy and Why Do We Teach Them?

There's no doubt that subtraction is a fundamental math skill that students must learn in order to progress to more advanced math concepts. That's where subtraction strategies come in handy — they help students to understand how to take away one number from another, and to visualize the results of subtraction problems. Using strategies in math teaches students to think flexibly about numbers and will help them develop automaticity. These strategies are important for students to learn early in elementary school in order to be successful in math as they progress into middle school and later high school or even college. 

What Are Some Different Subtraction Strategies?

If you're teaching subtraction for the first time in a long time, you might need to quickly revisit the strategies most often used for solving these problems! There are a few different strategies that can be used when subtracting numbers. 

The Traditional Subtraction Strategy:

The most common strategy is to start at the number on the right and work your way left.

The New or Inverse Subtraction Strategy:

Another strategy for subtraction is to start with the number on the left and work your way right. This is often called the "new" or "inverse" method.

The Counting Up Strategy

The "counting up" strategy involves starting at the number you are subtracting from and counting up to the number you are subtracting.

32 of 33 teaching resources for those 'aha' moments