by Howard Portnoy
To this method’s credit, it doesn’t have the kids draw a bajillion little boxes to represent the numbers. To its discredit, the method complicates a fairly straightforward process for multi-place subtraction by using a method called counting up.
The problem, which is intended for students in Grade 4 (aged 9), asks them to find the difference between 325 and 38. Using the old-fangled method, you stack the numbers with the larger value on top, then “borrow” and subtract:
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