Subtraction with making ten strategy

Subtraction with making ten strategy 

Subtraction is a fundamental mathematical operation that students encounter early in their education. While some may find it intuitive, others struggle to grasp the concept, especially when dealing with numbers close to ten or multiples of ten. Enter the “Subtraction with Making Ten Strategy.” This approach offers a structured method to simplify subtraction problems by using the number ten as a reference point. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of the strategy, explore its significance in building strong number sense, and provide practical examples to help learners of all levels master this valuable math skill.

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Understanding Subtraction 

Subtraction is the process of finding the difference between two numbers. It is an essential skill for various real-world scenarios, from calculating change at the store to solving complex mathematical problems. For many students, subtraction can be challenging, particularly when they encounter numbers that are close to ten or multiples of ten. To address this challenge and build a solid foundation in subtraction, educators and parents can introduce the Making Ten Strategy.

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What Is the Making Ten Strategy? 

The Making Ten Strategy is a fundamental mathematical approach that simplifies subtraction problems. It is especially useful when dealing with numbers close to ten or multiples of ten. The core idea behind this strategy is to use the number ten as a reference point. By doing so, students can break down complex subtraction problems into more manageable steps and build a deeper understanding of numbers.


Step-by-Step Implementation 

  1. Identify the Subtraction Problem: Begin by reading and comprehending the subtraction problem at hand. For example, consider the problem: 17 – 8.
  2. Find the Difference Between the Number and Ten: Examine the number from which you are subtracting (in this case, 17). Determine how much you need to reach ten from this number. In our example, it’s 3 (10 – 7 = 3).
  3. Subtract the Difference: Subtract the difference calculated in step 2 (3) from the other number (8). So, 8 – 3 = 5.
  4. Combine the Results: You now have two separate subtraction results: 10 – 7 = 3 and 8 – 3 = 5. Combine these results to find the final answer. In this example, 17 – 8 = 10 – 7 + 8 – 3 = 3 + 5 = 8.

Why Is the Making Ten Strategy Important? 

The Making Ten Strategy is significant for several reasons. First and foremost, it simplifies subtraction, making it more accessible for students, particularly those in their early math learning stages. It provides a structured approach that breaks down subtraction into manageable steps, reducing the likelihood of errors. Additionally, this strategy builds strong number sense by helping students understand the relationships between numbers and the significance of the number ten in our base-ten number system. This foundational knowledge prepares students for more advanced mathematical concepts in the future.

Benefits of the Making Ten Strategy 

  1. Enhanced Number Sense: By repeatedly using the Making Ten Strategy, students develop a deep understanding of numbers and their relationships. They grasp the concept of making tens and can apply this knowledge to various mathematical tasks.
  2. Mental Math Proficiency: The strategy encourages mental math skills, allowing students to perform subtraction calculations quickly and accurately in their heads, which is valuable in everyday life.
  3. Improved Problem-Solving Skills: Students who master the Making Ten Strategy become more proficient at solving a wide range of subtraction problems, including those involving larger numbers and decimals.
  4. Confidence Building: As students become adept at using this strategy, their confidence in tackling subtraction problems grows. This self-assuredness extends to other areas of math and learning.
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Real-Life Applications 

Subsraction with making Ten Strategy isn’t confined to the classroom; it has numerous real-life applications. Consider scenarios such as shopping, where calculating change or discounts often involves subtraction. By leveraging the Making Ten Strategy, individuals can mentally compute these values with ease. Additionally, in fields like engineering, finance, and science, where precise calculations are crucial, the ability to perform mental math using this strategy can be a valuable asset.

Practical Examples 

Let’s explore a few practical examples to illustrate the effectiveness of the Making Ten Strategy:

Example 1: 24 – 9

  1. Identify the Subtraction Problem: We need to subtract 9 from 24.
  2. Find the Difference Between 24 and Ten: To reach ten from 24, we need to subtract 14 (24 – 10 = 14).
  3. Subtract the Difference from 9: Subtract the difference, which is 14, from 9. So, 9 – 14 = -5.
  4. Combine the Results: 24 – 9 = 10 – 14 + 9 – 14 = -4.

Example 2: 39 – 6

  1. Identify the Subtraction Problem: We need to subtract 6 from 39.
  2. Find the Difference Between 39 and Ten: To reach ten from 39, we need to subtract 29 (39 – 10 = 29).
  3. Subtract the Difference from 6: Subtract the difference, which is 29, from 6. So, 6 – 29 = -23.
  4. Combine the Results: 39 – 6 = 10 – 29 + 6 – 29 = -23.


Substraction with making Ten Strategy is a powerful tool for simplifying subtraction problems and building strong number sense. By breaking down complex calculations into manageable steps and using the number ten as a reference point, students can gain confidence in their mathematical abilities. This foundational skill not only makes subtraction more accessible but also sets the stage for success in more advanced math concepts and real-life situations.