Seven Math Skills Your Child Will Learn in 1st Grade

Seven Math Skills Your Child Will Learn in 1st Grade

Your child is heading to first grade! After the year in kindergarten, your first grader will be ready for some amazing growth. For many children, first grade is the year that they bloom as readers and mathematicians. Get ready to support your child’s mathematical growth by learning about first grade math skills. 

In first grade, you can expect your child to learn about: 

1. Addition and subtraction facts to 20 

Now that your child has mastered the idea of adding and subtracting, they’re ready to practice math facts. This means getting faster when answering addition and subtraction problems to 20. 

Help your child develop fluency by asking basic addition and subtraction problems - we find that using treats can help keep kids interested! If your first grader needs support, encourage the use of physical objects or fingers as problem-solving tools. 

2. Addition and subtraction as inverse operations 

Your child probably understands the concept of addition as “putting together” and subtraction as “taking apart.” In first grade, children are encouraged to see the connections between addition and subtraction. Your child will learn how addition and subtraction are inverse operations, or that one is the opposite of the other, and create “fact families” of related addition and subtraction problems. 

When working with addition and subtraction, ask your child to see connections. For example, if your child has four dolls and three cars, ask how many toys there are in all. Then ask how many toys there would be if the four dolls are taken away. 

3. Count and write within 120 

Your child has probably mastered counting to 20. But in first grade kids will learn to count all the way up to 120! That’s not all. Kids will be expected to not only count, but write, the numbers. This is great practice for understanding multi-digit numbers. 

At home: Encourage your child to write numbers whenever possible. Talk about how two-digit numbers are made up of tens and ones and how three-digit numbers are made up of hundreds, tens, and ones. Just looking closely at multi-digit numbers together can be a great learning opportunity. 

4. Add within 100 

Now that your child has an understanding of numbers past 100 as well as basic addition and subtraction facts, it’s time to practice adding within 100. Children will practice adding one-digit numbers to two-digit numbers using strategies like counting on and number charts. Children can practice adding larger numbers with the help of a 1-100 chart. 

First graders are also ready to practice adding and subtracting 10s to and from two digit numbers. 

At home: Help your child see patterns when adding and subtracting 10s. For example, after solving a problem like 59 - 10 = 49, point out to your child that 49 has one less 10 than 59. This is another great way to learn about place value. 

5. Measure objects

In first grade, kids learn how to measure using rulers and more unusual things like paper clips. After taking measurements, children compare and order objects by length.

At home: Kids love measuring things around the house, so keep a couple of rulers handy. Pay attention to how your child is using a ruler and taking measurements. Sometimes kids don’t quite measure from end to end, so they might need a bit of help...  

6. Tell time to hour and half hour 

One of the trickiest concepts first graders will learn is to tell time. Using analog clocks is confusing, especially when kids are more used to seeing digital clocks. In first grade, your child will learn about the big and little hands of a clock and will practice telling time to the hour and half hour. 

At home: Get hold of an analog clock for your home (either a real one or one made just for learning). Talk with your child about the time and how the hands move around the clock. Remember to just focus on telling time to the hour and half hour to start! 

7. Understand basic fractions

First graders also get an introduction to fractions as equal shares. They will learn how to divide into equal groups and learn basic fractions like ½, ⅓, and ¼. First graders usually have a good understanding of fairness,  so practicing making equal shares should be a relatively easy task for them!

At home: Help your child to divide pizzas, pies, and sandwiches into equal shares. As you do, talk about the fractions of the whole that you created. 

First graders are ready to dive deep into mathematical concepts. Find time to connect with your child about classroom learning and get ready to have some fun! 

Lily Jones loves all things learning. She has been a kindergarten & first grade teacher, instructional coach, curriculum developer, and teacher trainer. She loves to look at the world with curiosity and inspire people of all ages to love learning. She lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a little dog.

About Komodo – Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost K-5 math skills. Designed for 5 to 11-year-olds to use in the home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning math (15 minutes, three to five times per week) that fits into the busy family routine. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in math – without keeping them at the screen for long.

Find out more about Komodo and how it helps thousands of children each year do better at maths – you can even try Komodo for free. 

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