Activities to Teach Students to Write the Subtraction Sentence – Up to Three Digits

Subtraction is an essential math skill that students must learn to excel in math. It is essential that educators teach their students the basics of subtraction, including writing subtraction sentences. Subtraction sentences are an important concept of this math operation that provides students with the ability to visualize a subtraction problem to find the solution. Writing the subtraction sentence is like putting the math problem into words for the first time.

In this article, we will discuss several effective activities that can help students learn how to write subtraction sentences up to three digits.

1. Using Base Ten Blocks

Base ten blocks are an excellent tool to teach subtraction. They represent digits in a way that is visually appealing, which helps students understand the concept of subtraction better. You can create subtraction problems for students using base ten blocks and ask them to write subtraction sentences from it.
For example, you can show ten blocks, asking students to subtract five, then asking them to write a sentence like “Ten minus five equals five.”

2. Counting Backwards

Counting backwards is a simple yet effective activity that teaches students how to write subtraction sentences. Ask students to start from a given number and count backward by another number, asking them to write the corresponding subtraction sentence.
For example, ask students to begin with the number 20 and count back by seven. They must then write the sentence “Twenty minus seven equals thirteen.”

3. “No More, No Less” Game

This game is a fun way to teach students how to write subtraction sentences. All you need to do is write a random number on the board and ask students to generate a new number by subtracting a given amount from it.
For example, if the number on the board is 58 and the students are asked to subtract 15, they would write “Fifty-eight minus fifteen equals forty-three.”

4. Word Problem Exercises

Word problems are an excellent way to teach students how to apply math concepts in real-world situations. Create word problems that require students to use subtraction to solve it. Once they have the answer, ask them to create the corresponding subtraction sentence.

For example, you can create a word problem about a group of children sharing a pizza, asking students how many slices they would each get if six children shared a total of 24 slices. Once they have the answer, ask them to write the sentence “Twenty-four minus six equals eighteen.”


Teaching students to write subtraction sentences is an important skill that requires a lot of practice. Using these fun and effective activities can help students understand this math concept better and improve their problem-solving skills. Subtraction is a fundamental math operation that students will use throughout their academic and professional careers, and writing subtraction sentences is an essential part of learning this concept.

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