4 Misconceptions Students Have About Subtraction

Grade schoolers and teenagers alike have difficulty with subtraction. Sometimes these difficulties come from improper application of memorized rules, and sometimes they come from a lack of understanding of what subtraction actually means. So what makes this operation so tricky? Here are four common misconceptions that students have about subtraction:

1)      Only understanding subtraction as taking away  

When first learning subtraction, students are taught that to subtract means to take away. This association allows learners to make a tangible connection. For example, the expression 9 – 3 can be modeled by the following scenario: if you have 9 pretzels, and you take away 3 pretzels, you are left with 6 pretzels. Therefore, 9 minus 3 is 6.

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