What is Subtraction?

Subtraction is a math concept that looks at the process of removing things from a group. You might take away a small piece or a big piece. You might take away only red pieces or blue pieces. You will even learn to take away a value that is greater than your starting value. That idea is explained in a later page. We'll start you off with something small like two minus one (2-1). If you had two nuts and took one away, you would only have one left. That idea of losing something is the heart of subtraction.

Take it Away

When subtraction is discussed, you will see minus (-) signs everywhere. That symbol stands for subtraction. That sign means "to take away", "subtracting", or simply "minus." The minus sign will be also be used when you subtract fractions and decimals. When you do a word problem, you will see other phrases, including...

• Lost
• Gave away
• Used up
• Sold
• Removed

All of these terms might tell you that something was subtracted from your original amount.

Subtracting Different Types of Numbers

As you learn more math, you will find subtraction everywhere. In this section we're going to deal with whole numbers and decimals. We have a separate section on fractions if you need to work with those right away. You might remember about whole numbers and integers from the numbers section. Whole numbers include all of the positive numbers and zero. Integers include all of the whole numbers and their negative values. We'll start subtracting with whole numbers.

15 - 6 = 9
12 - (-3) = 15


► Or search the sites...


Link to Cosmos4Kids.com Link to Biology4Kids.com Link to Chem4Kids.com Link to Geography4Kids.com Link to Physics4Kids.com Link to NumberNut.com Rader Network Side Navigation

Related Links

Numbernut: Subtracting One to Ten
Numbernut: Numbers and Counting
Biology4Kids: Scientific Method
Biology4Kids: Logic
Chem4Kids: Elements
Subtraction Activity

Subtraction Activity

NumberNut Sections

Rader's Network of Science and Math Sites