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Lesson Worksheet: Word Problems: Subtracting Numbers up to 20 Mathematics

In this worksheet, we will practice interpreting and solving subtraction word problems with numbers up to 20.


Sarah makes 15 cookies. Her brother eats 3.

Pick the picture that shows the number of cookies left.

  • A
  • B
  • C


Mona has 14 balloons but 6 of them burst. She now has 8 balloons. Which number sentence matches this story?

  • A146=8
  • B86=14
  • C148=6


In a pet shop, there were 13 fish in the tank. Some fish were sold, and by the end of the day there were 6 fish in the tank.

Which number sentence would help you to find the number of sold fish?

  • A137=5
  • B13+7=6
  • C137=6


A tree in Nada’s garden had 13 apples on it. She picked some of the apples, and now there are 7 apples left on the tree.

Select the picture that represents the number of apples left on the tree.

  • A
  • B
  • C


Which of these statements cannot be true?

  • ASameh bought 20 party hats and gave 16 out at his party. He now has 24 party hats.
  • BYara had 14 stickers in her collection and gave 4 to her friend. She now has 10 stickers.
  • CA teacher bought a pack of 20 pencils and gave 17 to his pupils. He now has 3 pencils.


There were 12 carrots growing in Engy’s garden. She picked some to have for dinner. There are now 7 carrots growing in the garden. How many carrots did Engy pick?

Karim says, “I know that double 7 is 14. 12 is 2 less than 14, so the answer must be 2 less than 7.”

Seif says, “I am going to count up from 7 until I get to 12 to find the answer.”

Shady says, “I am going to add 12 and 7 to find the answer.”

Whose strategy will not find the correct answer?

  • ASeif’s
  • BKarim’s
  • CShady’s


Amer and Mona are discussing how to solve this word problem.

Amer counts back in ones from 17 to find the answer.

Mona takes away 7 to make 10 and then takes away 2 more.

Who uses the most efficient strategy?

  • AAmer
  • BMona


Sarah is considering how to solve this word problem.

Select the word problem that would not be suitable for this strategy.

  • AShady made 16 cookies and ate 2 of them immediately. How many cookies are left?
  • BAt the start of the day, there were 19 cakes at the bakery. During the day, 16 cakes were sold. How many cakes are left?
  • CLobna had 14 stickers. She gave 3 to her sister. How many stickers are left?


Miss Engy sells watermelons. At the start of the day, there were 17 watermelons in the shop. She sold 5 watermelons in the morning.

Which number sentence would help you find the number of watermelons left in the shop?

  • A125=17
  • B1712=5
  • C175=12


Seif had 11 T-shirts on a washing line. Some of the T-shirts blew away. There are now 4 T-shirts on the washing line.

Which number sentence would you use to find the number of T-shirts that blew away?

  • A117=
  • B74=
  • C114=

How many T-shirts blew away?

This lesson includes 81 additional question variations for subscribers.

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