# 34 Subtract

Xiya Zhang

**Formal Definition:** Subtract, as described in Maths dictionary (1996), is “the opposite of Add. You count on to add, and you count back to subtract. ” Furthermore, “Subtracting is often used to find the DIFFERENCE between two amounts. At other times, it is used when an amount is taken away” (p. 65).

**Kid-speak:** Subtracting is like the opposite of adding. When we add, we count up to make a number bigger. But when we subtract, we count down to make a number smaller.

Imagine you have 7 cookies, and you eat 3 of them. To find out how many cookies you have left, you count backwards from 7 by 3 steps. So, 7 minus 3 means you will have 4 cookies left.

Using stories and songs can help make subtract easier for kids to understand. For example, there is a subtract song on YouTube which can make learning subtract more enjoyable and memorable!

*Video 1. Math Whiz! (Subtraction Song) | Kids Learning | Danny Go! Songs For Kids by Danny Go! of YouTube*

**Cool Fact: **Subtracting numbers is called ‘subtraction’. The sign for subtraction is ‘-’ and this is called ‘minus’ (p. 65).

**Way to learn about subtract: **

You can explore subtract with the activity named Subtract Bowling.

In the Subtract Bowling Game, the goal is to practice subtraction while having fun. To set up, arrange six paper cups in a triangle formation, like bowling pins, and have a small ball ready.

Each player takes turns rolling the ball to knock down as many cups as possible. After a roll, count the number of cups knocked down and subtract that number from 6.

For example, if a player knocks down 5 cups, ask, “What is 6 minus 5?” and write down “6 – 5 = 1” on a piece of paper, since there is 1 cup left standing. Then, set up the cups again for the next player. Repeat the process for each player. This game helps students practice subtraction in a fun and interactive way.

**Video 2. Subtraction Games by Ms. Kendrick’s Class of YouTube**

**References: **

Delaney, K., Pinel, A., & Smith, D. (1996). Maths dictionary. Continuum.

Math-Whizz by whizz education. How to teach subtraction to young children. Retrieved from https://whizz.com/en-us/blog/how-to-teach-subtraction-to-young-children/#:~:text=One%20way%20to%20explain%20subtraction,just%20need%20to%20count%20backwards.

**Attributions:**

Figure 1. “Subtraction” by kismalac is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Video 1. Danny Go! . (2023, Jan 17). Math Whiz! (Subtraction Song) | Kids Learning | Danny Go! Songs For Kids [Video].YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8_t_E5cG38

Video 2.Ms. Kendrick’s Class. (2020, Apr 13). Subtraction Games [Video].YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SC97Jd6ezM