Contributor: Erika Wargo. Lesson ID: 12407
What if you had $15.39 in your pocket (the one with the hole in it!) and some of it fell out. How would you figure out how much you lost? Learn to subtract large numbers while playing a fun card game!
The new laptop costs $600. Larry has $476 saved in the bank.
He's counting on you to tell him!
Subtraction is the process of taking an amount away from another amount.
Subtraction is used to find the difference between numbers. As you watch the video below about multidigit subtraction, write the answers to the following questions on a piece of paper.
When subtraction involves two or threedigit numbers, the greatest value needs to be written first. The number with the least value is subtracted from the number with the greater value.
If a number sentence is written horizontally, the number with the greater value is written first. The number with the least value is written second.
82  53 =
A horizontal number sentence can be rewritten vertically. The number with the greater value is written on top. The number with the least value is written below this number.
8 
2 

 
5 
3 

Line up the digits and begin subtracting in the ones place. Since 3 cannot be subtracted from 2, regroup and borrow from the tens place. Borrowing 1 ten from the tens place changes the 8 in the tens place to a 7.
The ten is added to the ones place, so 2 + 10 = 12. Now, you can begin subtracting.
^{7}8 
^{1}2 

 
5 
3 

2 
9 
Subtract 12  3 = 9 in the ones place. Move to the tens place and subtract: 7  5 = 2, so write the 2 in the tens place. 82  53 = 29.
If you want to check your work, work backwards and add your solution to the number above it. The sum of the numbers should be the first number from the subtraction problem, like you see below.
^{1}2 
9 

 
5 
3 

8 
2 
When subtracting two or threedigit numbers, it is important to always start subtracting in the ones place.
If you need to regroup, borrow from the next place to the left, if it is not a zero. If the number is a zero, you will need to move to the left until you get a value greater than zero.
Look back at the problem from the beginning of the lesson.
The new laptop costs $600. Larry has $476 saved in the bank. How much more money does Larry need before he can buy the laptop?
First, set up your subtraction problem, with the greater value written on the top.
$ 
6 
0 
0 

 
$ 
4 
7 
6 

The first digit in the ones place is a zero, so move to the left to regroup. The digit in the tens place is a zero, so move to the left once more to borrow from the 6 in the hundreds place.
^{5} 
^{9} 

$ 
6 
^{1}0 
^{1}0 

 
$ 
4 
7 
6 

The 6 in the hundreds becomes a 5 and the 0 in the tens becomes a 10. Since we still need to subtract the ones place, we have to borrow once more.
The 10 in the tens becomes a 9, and the 10 is added to the ones place. Since the digits on the top are greater than the digits on the bottom, we can subtract.
^{5} 
^{9} 

$ 
6 
^{1}0 
^{1}0 

 
$ 
4 
7 
6 

$ 
1 
2 
4 
Check your answer with addition. Add your solution, $124, to the value above it, $476, and check to make sure you get the starting value of $600.
^{1} 
^{1} 

$ 
1 
2 
4 

+ 
$ 
4 
7 
6 

$ 
6 
0 
0 
The solution of $124 was correct. Larry needs $124 more to purchase the laptop.
Review the following.
In the Got It? section, you will practice subtracting two and threedigit numbers with interactive practice and games.