[Feature photo (above) by Loren Kerns. (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 second 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 a couple of extra tips) and links to related posts from the past eight years of playing with math on this blog…
What Your Child Will Learn in 2nd Grade Math
In grade two, students will extend their understanding of place value to the hundreds place. They will use this place value understanding to solve word problems, including those involving length and other units of measure. Students will continue to work on their addition and subtraction skills, quickly and accurately adding and subtracting numbers up through 20 and also working with numbers up through 100. They will also build a foundation for understanding fractions by working with shapes and geometry.
Activities in these areas will include:
- Quickly and accurately adding numbers together that total up to 20 or less or subtracting from numbers up through 20.
- Solving one- or two-step word problems by adding or subtracting numbers up through 100.
- Adding and subtracting three digit numbers.
- Measuring lengths of objects in standard units such as inches and centimeters.
- Solving addition and subtraction word problems involving length or money.
- Breaking up a rectangle into same-size squares, a step toward fractions.
- Dividing circles and rectangles into halves, thirds, fourths, or other basic fractions.
- Solving addition, subtraction, and comparison word problems using information presented in a bar graph.
- Writing equations to represent addition of equal numbers. An equation is a mathematical statement that uses numbers and symbols, such as 3 + 3 = 6.
[Photo by geishaboy500 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).]
Tip: Second grade students should be intimately familiar with the numbers up to 100. Check out the many games and activities in 20+ Things to Do with a Hundred Chart.
Helping Your Child Learn Math
- Play math games with your child. For example, “I’m thinking of a number. It has 6 tens, but only half that many hundreds. And it has as many ones as how old you are. What is the number?”
- You can also identify a target number and ask your child to either add or subtract to obtain that target number (use a target of 20 or less).
- Have your child explain the relationship between different numbers without counting. For example, 147 is 47 more than 100 and three less than 150. Ask your child to explain his or her thinking.
- Have your child create story problems to represent addition, subtraction, and comparisons. For example, “Keisha has 57 cents. She has 14 cents more than Karen has. How much money does Ryan 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 Eden, Janine and Jim. (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 second grade math topics, read the Common Core State Standards for grade 2 mathematics.
- And be sure to explore the many great ideas for early math on my Pinterest board: Playful Math for Preschool & Early Elementary.