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Subtracting integers is difficult. This is because it can be hard to understand how we can take away things that already have a minus sign in front of them.

For example, let’s say that your friend owes you five dollars. This means that your financial relationship with them is currently -5. Eg. You have 5 dollars less, because you lent five dollars to them.

When they pay back the five dollars, the 5 dollar debt can be removed like this:

-5 – -5 = 0 debt, which is actually the same as -5 + 5 = 0.

Eg. We take their -5 dollar debt and add the 5 dollars they just gave you and this creates a debt of zero dollars.

SUBTRACTING A NEGATIVE IS ALWAYS THE SAME AS ADDING A POSITIVE.

A subtraction sum is always easier to do when we turn it into an addition sum.

This is what we always do with subtraction questions that involve integers.

WE ALWAYS CHANGE SUBTRACTION INTO ADDING THE OPPOSITE.

This is called the “Adding the Opposite Method”.

Adding the Opposite Method

Integer Addition sums are much easier to do than Subtractions, so we always apply the “Add the Opposite” rule to turn every Subtraction question into an Addition sum.

Keep Flip Change “KFC” Rule

Adding the Opposite can be simplified into what is called the “KFC” Rule.

Example 1

5 – 2 = ?

We know the answer is 3, but let’s prove that KFC works.

Keep the 5 as it is, eg. It stays as +5, which is the same as 5

Flip the Subtract into Add

Change the sign of the 2 so that it becomes -2

Our KFC addition sum is: 5 + -2 which on a number line works out as 3.

Example 2

-5 – 2 = ?

Applying KFC, the -5 stays, and the 2 changes its sign to become -2

The KFC sum is therefore

-5 + -2 which works out as an answer of -7 .

eg. Using the “Cancel Zero Pairs” adding method we have:

We set this sum out in our workbook like this:

-5 – 2 = ?

K F C

-5 + -2 = -7

Example 3

-5 – -2 = ?

Applying KFC,

the -2 changes its sign to become 2

and our addition sum is:

-5 + 2 = ?

We can work out the answer to this sum using the canceling zeroes method as follows:

So the answer to our original question is: -5 – -2 = -3.

We set this sum out in our workbook like this:

-5 – - 2 = ?

K F C

-5 + 2 = -3

Videos About the “KFC” Rule

The following video shows how to use the KFC Rule for Integer subtractions.

Click anywhere on the video image below to launch the video in a new window.

This next video follows on from the previous one and gives some more “KFC” examples.

Click anywhere on the video image below to launch the video in a new window.

Subtracting Integers Car Racing Game

This game starts off with us using the left and right arrow keys to drive our car in a race, and then after a little while we have to stop and do an Integer Subtraction question.

If we get the question right, we get bonus items like a rocket booster pack to fly our car for a while, until the next question comes.

Click on the image below, or the link which follows, to play this game.

Subtracting Integers Fish Game

In this fun game we have to click the letter that is the correct answer, before the fish swims to this correct answer.

Click on the image below, or the link which follows, to play this game.

http://www.slidermath.com/integer/SlamnS.shtml

Subtracting Integers Speed Test

This is more of an online speed test than a game.

However, it will certainly improve your Integer Subtraction skills.

Click on the image below, or the link which follows, to play this game.

Once you get onto the the new window screen, scroll down to find the Test.

http://www.basic-mathematics.com/subtracting-integers-game.html

Subtracting Integers Online Quiz

This online test will check how well we know our Integer Subtracting.

Click on the image below, or the link which follows, to play this game.

Once you get onto the the new window screen, scroll down to find the Quiz.

http://www.aaamath.com/sub65_x4.htm

Related Items

Introduction to Integers

Arranging Integers in Order

Adding Integers Using Number Lines

Adding Integers Using Zero Pairs

Multiplying Integers

Dividing Integers

Integers Order of Operations

Directed Number Integers Games

Integers in the Real World

Integers in Drag Racing

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Passy

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