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How Do We Use It In the Real World?-Addition and Subtraction

How many times has your student asked, "How is this used in the real world?". In our blog series, "How Do We Use It In the Real World?", we will help answer this question.

Addition and subtraction are essential mathematical operations that find numerous applications in the real world. Here are some common ways they are used:

Budgeting and Finance:

  • Income and Expenses: Addition is used to calculate total income, while subtraction is used to determine expenses. The difference between these two values represents savings or debt. Watch a lesson from our Personal Finance Course. (Partnering with Personal Finance Labs in our FAFlex Curriculum.)

woman in skirt checking budget list

  • Banking: Addition is used when depositing money into an account, and subtraction is used when making withdrawals.


boy in shorts pushing shopping cart filled with groceries

  • Discounts: Subtraction is employed to calculate the final price after applying discounts.


  • Length and Distance: Addition is used to determine the total length or distance when multiple measurements are combined.

  • Weight: Subtraction is applied to find the difference in weight before and after removing something.


  • Elapsed Time: Subtraction is used to calculate the duration between two time points. Watch a DEMO lesson from Trail Time. (Partnering with Exact Path)

  • Scheduling: Addition is employed when determining the time of an event given a start time and duration.

Cooking and Recipes:

man in apron stirring pot

  • Ingredient Quantities: Addition is used to sum up ingredient quantities in recipes.

  • Adjusting Portions: Subtraction can be used to adjust the recipe for a different number of servings.


  • Distance and Speed: Addition is used to calculate the total distance traveled, and subtraction is used to find the remaining distance.

  • Time Zones: Subtraction is applied when calculating time differences between different time zones.

Construction and Carpentry:

  • Measurements: Addition is used to determine the total length or height of a structure.

  • Cutting Materials: Subtraction is employed to find the length to cut when working with materials like wood or metal.


boy  sitting at desk playing online game

  • Scorekeeping: Addition is used to keep track of scores in games.

  • Inventory Management: Subtraction is applied when subtracting items from a player's inventory.

Science and Engineering:

  • Calculations: Addition and subtraction are fundamental to various scientific and engineering calculations.

  • Data Analysis: These operations are used in statistical analysis and data manipulation.

Health and Fitness:

  • Calorie Counting: Addition is used to calculate the total caloric intake.

  • Exercise Tracking: Subtraction is applied to monitor calories burned during exercise.

Addition and subtraction are essential mathematical concepts that are widely used in everyday activities, ranging from personal finance to cooking, construction, and beyond. They provide a foundational understanding of quantitative relationships and are indispensable in problem-solving across various fields.


Are you looking for more fun lesson and activity ideas to support your student's educational journey?

Exact Path includes extensive and creative lesson ideas to help homeschool instructors support their learners.

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