23 Strategies to Help Students Who Have Trouble Solving Math Problems with Subtraction

Are you looking for strategies to help students who have trouble solving math problems with subtraction? If so, keep reading.

1. Provide the learner with alternative math facts. As the learner shows success, slowly introduce more components of the regular tasks.

2. Select a peer to model how to solve subtraction problems for the learner.

3. Ask the learner a question when they are most likely to be able to respond successfully.

4. Provide information to the learner on a one-to-one basis or use a peer tutor.

5. Create a math facts reference sheet for subtraction for the learner to use at their desk when solving math problems.

6. Talk about and give the learner a list of words and phrases that usually indicate subtraction operations (e.g., difference between, from, left, how many less, how much taller, how much farther, etc.).

7. Assess the appropriateness of the task to ascertain (a) if the task is too easy, (b) if the task is too complicated, and (c) if the duration of time scheduled for the task is sufficient.

8. Give chances for the learner to apply subtraction facts in real-life situations (e.g., getting change in the cafeteria, measuring the length of objects in industrial arts, etc.).

9. Get the learner to be a tutor and teach a concept they have learned to another learner.

10. Get the learner to check all math work. Praise the learner for each error they correct.

11. Get the learner to independently solve half their subtraction problems each day. Let them use a calculator to solve the other half of the task as reinforcement.

12. Get the learner to subtract a specific number of objects from a group, then pair number symbols with the objects while the learner solves the subtraction problem. For the last step, the learner subtracts the number of symbols without using objects.

13. Get the learner to perform timed drills with subtraction facts as reinforcement. The learner “competes” against their own best times.

14. Get the learner to solve subtraction problems by manipulating objects and stating the process(es) involved.

15. Get the learner to talk through math problems as they solve them to find errors they are making.

16. Get the learner to use a calculator for drill of basic subtraction facts.

17. Get the learner to use a calculator to reinforce the process of subtraction. Get the learner to solve several problems each day using a calculator.

18. Give the learner a number line attached to their desk to help solve subtraction problems.

19. Provide all instructions, questions, and explanations in a clear, concise manner and at an appropriate rate for the learner.

20. Make sure that the language used to connect with the learner about subtraction is consistent (e.g., “Subtract the numbers.” “What is the difference? etc.).

21. Consider using Alexa for the Math Classroom.

22. Try gamifying your math lessons.

23. Consider using one of the apps and tools from our many math app lists:

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