Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty
Basics on the topic Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty
Subtraction – Definition
What is subtraction? The math subtraction definition is very simple. Subtract means to take away from a group. Now that we know the definition of subtraction, the next section will show an example of subtraction with numbers up to 20 (no regrouping).
Two Digit Subtraction – Example
Mr. Squeaks and Imani are in the Land of Dinosaurs and are observing them from a safe distance using binoculars. They notice a brontosaurus eating leaves on a branch and want to know how many leaves are left. Let’s help them solve by learning how to do subtraction. How can we find the answer to a subtraction problem?
First, write a number sentence. A number sentence is a mathematical sentence made up of numbers and signs. When we write a number sentence for a subtraction problem, we use a subtraction symbol.
The number sentence is fourteen minus six equals question mark. After we write the number sentence, we can draw pictures of HOW MANY we are starting with to help us subtract.
Now that we've drawn the circles, let's subtract by crossing SIX off. How many circles are left?
Eight! Which means fourteen minus six is eight. Now that we’ve learned the subtraction meaning and 2 digit subtraction, let’s review!
Subtraction – Summary
When we want to find out how many are left, we can use subtraction. These are the steps to keep in mind when subtracting.
Step #  What to do 

1  Write a number sentence. 
2  Draw pictures of how many we are starting with to help us subtract. 
3  Subtract by crossing off. 
4  Count how many are left. 
First, write a number sentence. Second, draw pictures of how many we are starting with to help us subtract. Then, subtract by crossing off. Last, count how many are left.
Want some more subtraction practice? On this website you can find a subtracting numbers up to 20 worksheet and single digit subtraction worksheets along with activities and exercises for more subtraction problems.
Transcript Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty
Mr. Squeaks and Imani are in the Land of Dinosaurs and are observing them from a safe distance using binoculars. "Look Imani, the brontosaurus is eating some leaves!" "I wonder how many leaves are left on the branch?" Let's help Mr. Squeaks and Imani calculate by "Subtracting Numbers up to Twenty". "Subtract means to take away from a group." If we want to help Mr. Squeaks and Imani find how many leaves are left, we can subtract. The tree branch has fourteen leaves on it (...) and the brontosaurus ate six of the leaves. How do we subtract? (...) First, write a number sentence. A number sentence is a mathematical sentence made up of numbers and signs. The number sentence is (...) fourteen minus six equals question mark. After we write the number sentence, we can draw pictures of HOW MANY we are starting with to help us subtract. Drawing circles is easy, so for this example we will draw fourteen circles. Let's count together! one (...) two (...) three (...) four (...) five (...) six (...) seven (...) eight (...) nine (...) ten (...) eleven (...) twelve (...) thirteen (...) fourteen! Now that we've drawn the circles, let's subtract by crossing SIX off. How many circles are left? (...) Let's count together! one (...) two (...) three (...) four (...) five (...) six (...) seven (...) eight! Fourteen minus six is eight (...) which means there are eight leaves left on the branch. Now they've spotted EIGHTEEN pterodactyls... and eight of them just flew away! How many pterodactlys are left? (...) Remember, to help them subtract, we first write the number sentence. What is the number sentence? (...) The number sentence is eighteen minus eight equals question mark, because there were EIGHTEEN pterodactyls and EIGHT flew away. What is the next step? (...) The next step is to draw eighteen circles. What is the last step? (...) The last step is to subtract eight from eighteen, by crossing off eight circles. How many circles are left? (...) Let's count together! one (...) two (...) three (...) four (...) five (...) six (...) seven (...) eight (...) nine (...) ten! Eighteen minus eight is ten (...) which means there are ten pterodactyls left. Before we see what they spot next, let's remember. When we want to find out how many are left, we can subtract. First, write a number sentence. Second, draw pictures of the HOW MANY we are starting with to help us subtract. Then, subtract by crossing off. Last, count how many are left. Let's see what Mr. Squeaks and Imani are up to now. "Oh no, did you hear that!?" "My turn!"
Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty exercise

Describe the steps for subtracting with word problems.
HintsWhen you subtract, you are taking away from a group.
Once you cross off the circles you are subtracting, the remaining circles are your difference, or in other words, the answer.
SolutionThe steps for subtracting with word problems are:
 Write a number sentence.
 Draw circles to show the starting number.
 Cross off circles to subtract, or take away.
 Count how many circles are left. This is the difference.

Illustrate a subtraction number sentence.
HintsThe first number in the number sentence should match the total number of circles.
Look at the example. There are five total circles in the group. The number sentence is telling you to subtract, or take away, two circles. Use this picture to help you complete the task.
The number you are subtracting should match how many circles are crossed off.
Solution When you create a drawing to match a number sentence, first draw the total number of circles at the beginning of the sentence. For example, in the problem 15  4 = 11, begin by drawing 15 circles to represent the starting number.
 Then, subtract by crossing off how many circles you are taking away. For example, in the problem 15  4 = 11, you need to take away, or subtract 4. So, you should cross off 4 circles.
 Finally, the remaining circles will be your answer, or difference! For example, in the problem 15  4 = 11, there will be 11 circles remaining, which is your answer.

Identify a number sentence from a word problem.
HintsHow many total dinosaur eggs are there altogether? This should be the beginning number in your subtraction sentence.
Take away the number of dinosaur eggs that have hatched. How many remain?
Remember the definition of what it means to subtract.
SolutionTo begin, find the total number of dinosaur eggs: 11. This will be the first number in your number sentence.
11
Next, determine how many dinosaur eggs you need to take away. We are looking for only the dinosaur eggs that remain unhatched, so we need to take away the 9 hatched eggs.
11  9 = ?
Last, count the remaining unhatched eggs to find the difference: 2.
11  9 = 2

Calculate the difference of a subtraction number sentence.
HintsThe difference, or answer, to a subtraction problem is how many circles are left over. Count the remaining red circles to solve each problem.
Shown below is an example. There are 7 red circles, so the answer is 7.
SolutionWhen you subtract, you take away from a group. The remaining number is your difference, or answer.
 10  5 = 5
 6  4 = 2
 13  7 = 6
 9  1 = 8

Solve a subtraction problem with a model.
HintsHighlight the remaining circles that have not been crossed off to find the difference.
There should not be any blank circles when you are done.
Count how many circles you highlighted and highlight that number at the bottom.
SolutionIn the subtraction sentence, 8  3 = ?, you begin with 8 circles and must take away 3 to find the remaining difference. You should highlight the 5 remaining circles. This is the answer.

Match the number sentence to the difference.
HintsIf you are stuck, draw circles to help you solve for the difference.
Start with the total number of circles at the beginning of the number sentence. Then, cross out the amount you are subtracting. Count the left over circles to find your answer.
Each difference should have three number sentences that match!
SolutionEach difference has three number sentences that match:
Difference: 5
 11  6 = 5
 17  12 = 5
 9  4 = 5
 12  6 = 6
 6  0 = 6
 14  8 = 6
 9  2 = 7
 13  6 = 7
 15  8 = 7
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