We’ve put together a subtraction table to help introduce young children to the concept of subtraction and to give them some simple practice.
To use the subtraction table:
* Choose a number from along the top row and a number from down the left side.
* At the point on the table where the two intersect you will have the answer to the top number minus the side number.
There are lots of different ways that you can use the table. Here are a few ideas:
* Completing a blank table: We have included an empty table that you can print for your child to fill in, with or without referring to the completed table.
* Quizzes: Take it in turns with your child to ask simple subtraction questions. Check the table together to see if the correct answer has been given.
* Counting back: Just like “counting on” is an important skill that an addition chart can help with, “counting back” can be taught with a subtraction table. For example, to work out “9 minus 6”, your child can start at the 9 in the top row and then count backwards down to the 3 with the aid of the table, while counting up to 6 on their fingers.
* Recognize the relationship between subtraction and addition: After performing a subtraction, you can show your child that they can also perform addition on this table. For example, if you subtract 3 from 5, you end up at the square with 2 in it on the left side. To add 3 to 2, move horizontally to the right until you reach 3, then move straight up to the top row and you will arrive at 5.
* Discuss why the columns get shorter as you move to the right (more advanced): You could start at the far right and explain that the only number you can take away from 1 is 1: everything else is too big. If your child is especially gifted or interested in mathematics you could even introduce the concept of negative numbers at this point, but bear in mind that this is an abstract topic not usually taught until high school.
In addition to the activities listed above, simply printing the chart and putting it up in your child’s bedroom will be beneficial. The bright colors and number patterns draw in the eye and your child’s familiarity with numbers and with subtraction and addition will be enhanced as they gaze at it on and off over time.