How to Break Apart Numbers You Are Subtracting

By Grace Williams
Subtraction is the inverse of addition.

A two-digit number, such as 52, contains a tens place and a ones place. That is because 52 is also equal to 50 + 2. The tens place is thus the 5, since 5 * 10 = 50 and the ones place is the 2. Breaking apart numbers can help children first learning how to perform subtraction between two digit numbers. This method also ensures that the child understands what the places of a number really mean.



Subtract two-digit numbers by breaking the second number down into its tens and ones. Subtract the tens from the original first number, find the answer and then subtract the ones from that answer for the final result.

Subtract 83 - 24 using the break apart method. Break 24 down into its parts: 20 + 4. Subtract 20 from the original number: 83 - 20 = 63. Subtract 4 from the answer: 63 - 4 = 59. Write that 59 is the final answer.

Check the answer by adding it to the second number, 24, to see if it equals the first number: 59 + 24 does equal 83 so the answer is correct.