# Quick maths question

Discussion in 'Primary' started by skills324, Apr 22, 2012.

1. ### skills324New commenter

In terms of subtraction - borrowing isn't used anymore- as you don't borrow because you don't give it back. Does anyone know what term to use?

exchange ?

3. ### minnieminxNew commenter

I used to say 'steal' or 'nick' depending on the class. But only with year 5 and 6.

4. ### Feep1

I usually just say 'take'.

5. ### sh287

'Take' for me as well.

6. ### senteachinginfo

I say 'move' because what you're doing is moving it from one column to another.

7. ### paulie86New commenter

Stealing for me. The kids like it when we say we are stealing I am a scouser so make a big deal of it with them.

8. ### sauvignonblanc

Check your school's calculation policy. Consistency in language is really important if we want children to really understand the concept. If you are introducing it for the first time, then exchanging is properly going to be the best term to use and make sure you use Base 10 or similar to represent the process. Give children a visual representation- towers of ten cubes, bundles of art straws etc.. just make it visual please...
Good luck.

9. ### NoIdeaWhy2New commenter

I use exchange to help reinforce that 1 ten = 10 units, 1 hundred = 10 tens etc.

10. ### cinnamonsquareOccasional commenter

I had no idea borrowing wasn't used anymore. And I'm the Maths coordinator - oops!

I still use it and it's never caused any problems. Is the person who decided this the same person who decided that red pens are evil and we should all be "thought-showering"?

For me, exchange sounds like you are swapping, therefore giving something back in return. So like borrowing really. I use "take". It's the simplest, everyone understands it.

12. ### Maria0206

We use exchange in Sweden.

14. ### RUFreeNew commenter

My school has just come out of special measures and been under heavy scrutiny from OFSTED and SIP.
Either taken or borrowed would have, and did result in failed observations. Either exchanged or transferred were fine,
Steal is interesting! Still thinking about what the reaction to that would have been.

15. ### LGR22

'Taken' or 'borrowed' is ok if children have a reasonable understanding of number and place value. For the majority of these children, these words wouldn't cause a problem. The problem withs maths vocabulary comes when children struggle with the concept. With these children it is essential that they have an understanding that you are exchanging 1 ten for 10 ones, or 1 hundred for 10 tens. This can be demonstrated beautifully with Diene's blocks. When a vertical subtraction is set up with Diene's, they can see that they haven't got enough in one column, and have to exchange a ten for ten ones, or a one hundred for ten 10s etc. Most maths language isn't an issue for children who have a reasonable understanding, but for those who don't, the correct language is essential.

16. ### justinjwhite

Provided of course that those self same children understand what the word 'exchange' actually means!

17. ### LGR22

If they use resources with concrete understanding before moving on to the abstract (good old Piaget), then they will.

But I learnt "borrow ten, pay it back".
What happened to that method?

19. ### shrubsall

Didn't it go out with the ark? I retired 3 years ago and can vaguely remember sitting the one I paid back on the doorstep ( equals lines in vertical subtaction) or something like that - so many decades ago. Decomposition is the only way I can remember teaching subtraction when the larger number's units are smaller than the smaller numbers units and I would use exchange and explain that we take the number apart (before partition became part of our everyday vocabulary) and would physically show how this was achieved using Deines, Cuisenaire, unifix or any other concrete items.

20. ### Andrew JeffreyNew commenter

I like the international perspectives in this thread! One more colloquial piece of language I have tried with children whose place value was less secure is describing the units as sweets and the tens as packets of sweets.
Then, if we don't have enough loose sweets to take away, we have to 'unwrap' a packet. This gives us ten extra loose sweets, one fewer packet, but (importantly) still the SAME number of sweets in total.
Chewits used to have ten per pack which was very handy!
I agree that 'borrow' does not describe the mathematical process as well as 'exchange', which has the notion of a 'fair' swap.
Another thing to try is to blutak a penny, 10p and pound coin (insert own currency here!) above the board to help with relative values. Because of their earlier work on money they are happy swapping a 10p for 10 1ps, etc.