[Feature photo (above) by woodleywonderworks. (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)]
A frequently-asked question on homeschooling forums is, “Are my children working at grade level? What do they need to know?”
The Council of the Great City Schools has published a handy 6-page pdf summary of first grade math concepts, with suggestions for how parents can support their children’s learning:
Whether you are a radical unschooler or passionately devoted to your textbook — or, like me, somewhere in between — you can help your children toward these grade-level goals by encouraging them to view mathematics as mental play. Don’t think of the standards as a “to do” list, but as your guide to an adventure of exploration. The key to learning math is to see it the mathematician’s way, as a game of playing with ideas.
The following are excerpts from the roadmap document, along with links to related posts from the past eight years of playing with math on this blog…
What Your Child Will Learn in 1st Grade Math
In grade one, students will work with whole numbers and place value — including grouping numbers into tens and ones as they learn to add and subtract up through 20. Students will also use charts, tables, and diagrams to solve problems.
Activities in these areas will include:
- Quickly and accurately adding numbers together that total up to 10 or less and subtracting from numbers up through 10.
- Understanding the rules of addition and subtraction (for example, 5+2=2+5).
- Solving word problems that involve adding or subtracting numbers up through 20.
- Understanding what the different digits mean in two-digit numbers (place value).
- Comparing two-digit numbers using the symbols > (more than), = (equal to) , and < (less than).
- Understanding the meaning of the equal sign (=) and determining if statements involving addition and subtraction are true or false (for example, which of the following statements are true? 3+3=6, 4+1=5+2).
- Measuring the lengths of objects using a shorter object as a unit of length.
- Putting objects in order from longest to shortest or shortest to longest.
- Organizing objects into categories and comparing the number of objects in different categories.
- Dividing circles and rectangles into halves and quarters.
Tip: Be sure to leave plenty of time for fun stuff, like this Land or Water? game.
Helping Your Child Learn Math
- Look for everyday opportunities to have your child do mathematics. For example, if you open a carton of eggs and take out seven, ask, “How many are left in the carton?”
- Play math games with your child. For example, “I’m thinking of a number. When I add five to it, I get 11. What is the number?”
- Encourage your child to read and write numbers in different ways. For example, what are some ways that you can make the number 15? 15 can be 10+5, 7+8, 20-5, or 5+5+5. Ask your child to explain his or her thinking.
- Have your child create story problems to represent addition, subtraction, and comparisons. For example, “I have seven pennies. My brother has five pennies. How many pennies does he need to have the same number as I have?”
- Encourage your child to stick with it whenever a problem seems difficult. This will help your child see that everyone can learn math.
- Praise your child when he or she makes an effort and share in the excitement when he or she solves a problem or understands something for the first time.
[Photo by glenngould. (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)]
“The way we taught students in the past simply does not prepare them for the higher demands of college and careers today and in the future. Your school and schools throughout the country are working to improve teaching and learning to ensure that all children will graduate high school with the skills they need to be successful.
“In mathematics, this means three major changes. Teachers will concentrate on teaching a more focused set of major math concepts and skills. This will allow students time to master key math concepts and skills in a more organized way throughout the year and from one grade to the next. It will also call for teachers to use rich and challenging math content and to engage students in solving real-world problems in order to inspire greater interest in mathematics.”
— Council of the Great City Schools
Parent Roadmaps to the Common Core Standards- Mathematics
- For wonderful advice on how to support children’s mathematical intuition, browse Talking Math With Your Kids.
- For creative ways to build a love for mathematics, follow Moebius Noodles.
- For more activity ideas, check out Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics.
- For other grade-level math standards, see the rest of the Council of the Great City Schools’ parent roadmaps in mathematics. Also available in Spanish.
- For a more detailed list of first grade math topics, read the Common Core State Standards for grade 1 mathematics. Or use this alternate check-list: World Book Typical Course of Study Curriculum Guide for Grade 1.
- And be sure to explore the many great ideas for early math on my Pinterest board: Playful Math for Preschool & Early Elementary.
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