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How to teach subtraction in KS1

Suzie Hunt By Suzie Hunt

Professor Ruth Merttens gives strategies for helping Key Stage 1 children approach subtraction.

If children in Key Stage 1 are struggling with subtraction, especially when we get to harder subtractions, it's worth thinking about how the children conceptualise it.

Subtraction is two concepts:

  • Decrease, for which we count back.
  • Difference, for which we count up.

Ruth discusses these two concepts and strategies, as each is appropriate for different calculations.

Plans and resources for teaching subtraction

Explore a wealth of resources to help you teach subtraction in Year 1 and Year 2, including PowerPoints, group activities, worksheets, and subtraction problems for mastery.

Subtraction for Year 1

Subtraction for Year 2