Subtraction Equations with One-Digit Integers

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  • 0:01 Subtraction Equations
  • 0:36 Solving
  • 2:26 Example 1
  • 3:14 Example 2
  • 5:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Watch this video lesson to learn how you can solve subtraction problems where you need to find a missing value. Learn what steps you need to take to easily solve these types of equations.

Subtraction Equations

Jenny is on this game show where she needs to solve a subtraction equation correctly to win a prize. A subtraction equation is an equation where you have the subtraction operation going on. For example, 6 - 3 = 3 is a subtraction equation. But for the game show, instead of seeing a complete equation like that one, Jenny needs to solve an equation like this: x - 3 = 3. The x stands for a missing value. Jenny needs to find what the x equals. Let's see what Jenny does.


To solve the equation, Jenny realizes that she needs to use the addition property of equality, where she adds the same thing to both sides of the equation to keep the equation the same. She sees that she needs to add so that she can get the x by itself. See, when the x is by itself, she will see that it will equal a certain value. Then, she will know what the answer is. If she adds a 3 to the left side, she will be left with an x on that side. To solve the problem, she also needs to add a 3 to the right side. x - 3 + 3 = 3 + 3. This turns into x = 6. Her answer is 6. What does Jenny win? She wins an ice cream maker!

Now, if we have a problem such as 6 - x = 3, where the x is being subtracted, we will need to approach it a bit differently. In order to solve this type of problem, we first need to add the x to both sides of the equation so that the x turns positive. This actually moves the x to the other side of the equation. 6 - x + x = 3 + x turns into 6 = 3 + x. At this point, we can rewrite the problem so that the side with the x is on the left side. 3 + x = 6. This is now an addition problem. To solve addition problems, we subtract what is being added to the x from both sides of the equation. 3 + x - 3 = 6 - 3 turns into x = 3. By subtracting from both sides we are able to get the x by itself and find our answer. Let's go back to the show now.

Example 1

Since Jenny won, she gets to play again. This time, the problem is x - 8 = 2. To solve this one, Jenny sees that she needs to add an 8 to get the x by itself. So, she adds an 8 to both sides of the equation. x - 8 + 8 = 2 + 8. What does she get? She gets x = 10. Her answer is 10. Is this correct? The game show host pauses and then says 'Congratulations! You've won the latest video game console with ten games!'

This finishes round one of the game. Since Jenny has given all correct answers so far, she gets to continue on to round two. But now the questions are a bit harder.

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