Is my child up to speed on math? Why is math so different from when you were a kid? Spark Math is here to shine a light on this murky subject. Grade 1 can feel like a big leap forward from the games and fun of kindergarten. Lessons are more structured and first graders are learning more than ever. With math often becoming a pain point for students, it’s critical to keep track of the more important concepts they are learning. Here are the top 3 first grade math concepts kids should bring with them into 2nd grade.
1. Adding and Subtracting with numbers within 20
Rudimentary adding and subtracting begin in kindergarten; however, it really begins to pick up speed in first grade. This is a critical time for parents to ensure their students are up to speed on the foundation of future math courses. Falling behind here can be a major frustration for students as math gets more difficult and builds on addition and subtraction.
Grade 1 is where many students get their first look at double-digit work. Strategic navigation and mastery of this hurdle will have a significant impact on future math grades. While all math concepts have their own importance, this could very well be the most important skill first grade students learn.
2. Counting up to 120 and Skip Counting with 5’s and 10’s
First grade math takes a big jump in counting level from kindergarten. Students are expected to go from counting up to 20 to 120. Granted, most students get beyond 20 with ease in kindergarten, but the jump to triple digits is a significant milestone. It marks an important point because once students comprehend counting over 100, they can comprehend numbers much larger as they understand the mechanics. Counting may be basic, but it is essential for students to master. Strong counting skills help build a solid foundation for learning more difficult math concepts in later grades.
Skip counting puts together counting and adding in easy-to-remember intervals such as 5 and 10. This is a highly underrated skill that does wonders for addition in the future and makes children comfortable with larger numbers. They can often use multiples of 5 and 10 as a sort of “home base” when they are adding and subtracting with big numbers.
Skip counting also makes mental math much smoother, especially when dealing with multiples of 5 and 10. These types of problem can become automatic for students with strong skip counting skills. Children that master skip counting with different numbers will indirectly master key multiplication tables giving them an advantage.
3. Measuring and Comparing Data
This may be the first experience students have with measuring data and thus is a milestone in their young education career. The measuring part focuses on representing the lengths, heights, and weights of objects using whole numbers. Putting real values on concepts they only understand loosely, such as the length of an object, is a massive stride forward in logical thinking and physical perception. This concept is incredibly important for all grade 1 students to get comfortable with. Failing to do so will hinder them not only in math but other subjects such as science.
When students can put whole number values on measurements, they can then begin comparing them. It will start at a basic level. For example, “This banana is 1 inch longer than this apple.” In that very simple sentence, the student used units of measurement, applied it to multiple different objects, and then compared the two to learn something new. This skill is the start of high-level thinking for grade 1 students and should be considered essential.
Master 1st Grade Math With Spark!
If your child isn’t an expert in each of these when they move on to 2nd grade, there is no need to panic. Students learn at different rates and thrive in different environments. There are ways for your kid to get extra challenge or catch up. Check out Spark Math for a better way to learn math and master the essentials.
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