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Math: 1st Grade

Learn the basic math concepts covered in your child’s 1st Grade class and how you can help at home with engaging activities.

Learning Benefits

1st graders continue to develop their addition and subtraction skills, gaining a deeper understanding of the concepts as they practice and gain mastery of these skills. In many classes, math tools and manipulatives such as blocks, tiles, and different shapes are used to help students practice math using concrete, visible objects. This helps students truly understand the concepts underlying the math they learn. In addition, students in 1st grade may begin to write about the math they do, answering questions about how they solve problems and understand things.

In order to build math skills, your 1st grader:

  • Adds and subtracts numbers 1-20, solves word problems by using objects, drawings, and traditional equations (with the plus and minus signs).
  • Adds 3 numbers that add to a number up to 20.
  • Solves addition and subtraction problems by adding up or subtracting smaller numbers, for example: 10+4 = 10+2+2 and 15-6 = 15-2-2-2.
  • Learns the relationship between addition and subtraction, for example: 2+3=5 and 5-3=2.
  • Counts out and groups objects in order to solve single digit addition and subtraction problems.
  • Counts and writes the numbers 1 to 120, starting from any number less than 120.
  • Understands and creates numbers using 10 as a base, for example: 12 = 1 ten and 2 1’s.
  • Compares two 2 digit numbers using the <, >, and = signs.
  • Adds up to100 using objects and the concept of 10’s.
  • Subtracts or adds 10 to a 2 digit number in her mind, without counting, and subtracts by 10 from numbers 1-90, using concrete objects or tools.
  • Orders three objects by length.
  • Begins to tell and write time using both digital and analog clocks.
  • Understands data; specifically, the total number of data points, how many are in each category, and how many more or less there are in a category.
  • Understands the definition of and difference between shapes and creates shapes using this knowledge.
  • Creates 2 and 3 dimensional shapes.
  • Breaks up circles and rectangles into two and four equal parts, and understands that the parts are halves, fourths, and quarters, and that smaller parts make up larger ones.

Math Activities

  • Add It Up and Shop: When you are in the store together, ask your child to add together different things, for example: how many fruits you bought, how many boxes of something, or how many different types of fruit and vegetables.
  • Greater or Less Than?: Make three cards, one with the < sign, one with > sign, and one with an = sign. Then play a game in which you put down two numbers (also on papers). Ask your child to put the correct sign between the numbers and do this is as fast as possible, seeing how many rounds he can get correct in a certain amount of time. Track how many your child got right and ask him to beat his record another time in the future.
  • Build Things: Use blocks or other building toys to construct houses, towers, vehicles etc. As you build, count pieces by tens, add and subtract pieces, and pay attention to the different shapes you use.
  • Take a Poll: Ask family members a question and create a graph of the answers using numbers and pictures. Ask your child questions about the different “data” you collected.
  • Order Up: Compare the sizes of different objects. Ask your child which object is larger, smaller and smallest. Ask your child to order some of his toys in size order. Time him to see how fast he can do this!
  • Set the Table: Setting the table for meals can include lots of math as you and your child add the total numbers of utensils, plates, chairs, etc. 

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