Learning math 1st grade

1st Grade Math Skills, What Your Child Will Learn, Komodo Math

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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! 

Found this useful? Check out our grade by grade math guides from Kindergarten to 5th grade

Written by Lily Jones, Lily 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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Teaching first grade math doesn't have to be boring. These first grade math resources offer kids real-world examples, interactive games, and engaging printable materials to help them practice key math skills. Our "Bubble Buster" game works addition skills to 10 while our "Learn the Coins" worksheet provides targeted first grade math help. For even more help with money and addition, browse our second grade math resources.

Resources You Can Count On: First Grade Math

There are almost 2000 first grade math resources stocked in the Learning Library. The variety of comprehensive lesson plans, energizing games, and refreshing takes on traditional worksheets provide learning mechanisms for different types of learners.

The first grade math curriculum covers a lot of foundational ground. Students learn how to navigate monthly calendars, how to count to 100 as well as single-digit addition and subtraction. Other lessons include less than and greater than instructions and tips on how to tell time.

Teachers and parents can select from a variety of professionally designed lesson plans that give explicit guidelines so students will seamlessly comprehend the instruction. The popular Basic Subtraction with Marshmallows lesson is highly-rated and first graders appreciate the sweet treat for their hard work. Another lesson plan utilizes the popular card game War so students learn to compare numbers quickly.

In addition, visual-heavy guided lessons and interactive stories on basic addition, subtraction, geometry and others will have kids learning on their own with the help of alluring illustrations.

The abundance and diversity of resources ensure first-graders of all levels build on the mathematical basics with ease.

Why do we need mathematics in human life?

Interesting facts about mathematics

Mathematics is not only arithmetic problems. This is a special language that teaches to think and reason.

Mathematics is called an interdisciplinary science because it is closely related to physics, geography, geology, and chemistry. Sociology and economics are inseparable from mathematics, so many conclusions from humanitarian research are based on mathematical concepts and logical laws.

The world has changed and become more technological, so many options for professional development are open for math lovers.

If 15 years ago the spheres of marketing and jurisprudence were promising, today IT is in the lead.

Professional demand = understanding of technology + ability to solve non-standard problems. And the key to success is the knowledge of mathematics.

What distinguishes mathematics from other school subjects:

  • one problem can have several correct solutions;
  • there are problems for which there is no solution - instead, you need to form a proof;
  • in mathematics there are many tools: numbers, formulas, graphs, diagrams, theorems. Don't get bored!

Math Demo Lesson

Find out which topics are “lame” for you, and then analyze them without cramming formulas and boring lectures.

Mathematics develops thinking

Why do physical education? The answer is simple - for the health and beauty of the body.

Why study mathematics? The answer to this question seems less obvious.

Mathematics is gymnastics for the mind. Like it or not, but in the process of studying, the qualities that influence the way of thinking will grow stronger. To do this, it is not necessary to study in a specialized class and participate in olympiads - solving even the simplest problems with proportions or percentages gives a significant effect.

Generalization, reduction, analysis, systematization, highlighting the important, searching for patterns, formulating hypotheses and proving theories - all this helps to develop thinking, make it more flexible. In the same way that physical exercises make our body more mobile, give a boost of strength and train endurance, mathematics trains the mind.

Mathematics develops the intellect. The set of rules and functions that we learn in school make our thinking consistent and logical. This is reflected in the ability to reason, formulate thoughts and notice relationships. And the most exciting thing is that this knowledge can (and should!) be applied not only at school, but also in non-standard situations: to choose the most profitable bank card, calculate liters of paint for repairs or create a treasure map so as not to forget where they are hidden.

Mathematics is a universal international language that is spoken by almost all people on earth. This knowledge will be useful in any country and can be the subject of an interesting conversation.

Life hack!

An unusual way to get acquainted is to ask a person about his attitude to mathematics, where he uses it and whether he remembers how to take the square root of a number. Yes, it will seem strange to some, but you will definitely be remembered. 🤓

What to understand, why study mathematics at school, just imagine how nice it is when there is no “porridge” and confusion in reasoning in the head. In this regard, back in the last century, the great scientist Lomonosov said: "Mathematics only then needs to be taught, that it puts the mind in order." How can one argue?

Mathematics courses will help you improve your grades, prepare for tests, VLOOKUP and exams.

Mathematics builds character

Knowledge alone is not enough to solve mathematical problems correctly. We need such qualities of character as attentiveness, perseverance, consistency, accuracy and accuracy. The more regularly we practice, the stronger these traits become stronger. And another bonus: these qualities can be applied not only in the classroom, but also in other areas of life.

The more complex the math problems, the more effort and skill you need to put in to solve them.

Thanks to mathematics, you can get rid of bad habits:



To think and not be able to explain why you think that way

Use facts and precise terms and be more persuasive

Memorize information mechanically, memorize

Evaluate, analyse, draw analogies and criticize

Math trains memory

Scientists from Stanford University in the USA studied how a person solves mathematical problems and found that adults use the skill to "get" answers from memory based on past experience.

Why do teachers insist on regular attendance? The point is not in their harmfulness, but in the fact that when solving mathematical problems, we “get” answers from memory based on past experience. And in order to consolidate this experience, you need to repeat the material and train in solving examples. This is the only way to remember all the rules and formulas. 🤓

In the journal Nature Neuroscience in 2014, a study was published about the role of certain areas of the brain in the development of cognitive activity in children. It turned out that the interest in knowledge is strongly influenced by the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is responsible for memory.

Interesting fact! Certain areas of the brain influence the development of children's cognitive activity. For example, interest in knowledge is influenced by the part of the brain that is responsible for memory - the hippocampus. Therefore:

  • in order for a child to avoid problems with mathematics, it is necessary to train memory at an early age;
  • solving mathematical problems develops the memory of schoolchildren and motivates them to study even more.

Mathematics is a magician, not otherwise! Let's systematize all the magical properties and repeat what skills can be developed with the help of mathematics:

  • The ability to generalize and find the role of the particular in the general.
  • Ability to analyze situations and make informed decisions.
  • The ability to see patterns.
  • The ability to correctly and clearly formulate thoughts.
  • Ability to think logically.
  • Ability to think quickly and make decisions.
  • Planning and forecasting skill.
  • Abstract Thinking Skills: The ability to sequence concepts or operations and keep them in mind.


(a spell that removes obstacles to knowledge)

Why do we need mathematics? Why study, the benefits of doing mathematics

Can you clearly explain to the child why he needs to do math? After all, the study of concepts, the laws of mathematics and logic, the solution of mathematical and logical problems requires mental effort. And why is it needed at all?

We reviewed a number of scientific studies and identified real evidence for the benefits of doing math.

Even if you are convinced that your child’s life will not be connected with mathematics, we recommend that you still read our article in order to at least easily answer the questions of the little “why”.

1. Mathematics develops thinking

By studying mathematics and solving problems, the child learns:

  • summarize and highlight the important;
  • analyze and systematize;
  • find patterns and establish cause-and-effect relationships;
  • reason and draw conclusions;
  • think logically, strategically and abstractly.

Just as regular sports training “pumps” the body, makes it healthy, strong and resilient, so regular math exercises “pump” the brain - develop intelligence and cognitive abilities, broaden horizons.

See also: In the article "5 reasons to learn to think like a mathematician" we have analyzed in detail what is the power of mathematical thinking and why to develop it.

2. Mathematics trains memory

Scientists from Stanford University in the USA studied the process of solving mathematical problems by a person and found out that adults use thinking and the skill, brought to automatism, to “get” the answers already there from memory.

Children under 7 often resort to the help of fingers and toes, as well as various substitutes (real objects, counting sticks). In the "transitional period", at the age of 7 to 9, schoolchildren form the "adult" skill of "thinking", comprehending and remembering information.

An interesting study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience in 2014. First of all, it was devoted to the study of the role of the hippocampus (an area in the brain) in the development of cognitive activity in children. But his indirect conclusions are as follows:

  • if you want your child to have no problems with math at school, train your memory at an early age;
  • solving mathematical problems develops memory.

3. Math builds character

For the correct solution of mathematical and logical problems, attentiveness, perseverance, responsibility, accuracy and accuracy are needed.

The more regularly a child trains these "muscles of character", the stronger they become, the more often they help the child in solving not only educational problems, but also life problems.

LogicLike is the right training platform for 20-60 minutes a day. Solve problems, participate in olympiads in logic and mathematics, develop the will to win and the ability to win!

We create both simple and Olympiad problems that you want to solve:

  • tasks for grade 1;
  • assignments for grade 2;
  • assignments for grade 3.

4. Music for mathematics, mathematics for music

A comprehensive study by Barbara H. Helmrich of the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore found that children who played musical instruments in middle school did significantly better in math in high school.

Scientists have found that the same part of the brain is responsible for solving algebraic problems and processing musical information.

"The largest average difference in algebra scores between any two groups of subjects was found between African-American 'instrumental' groups and groups of 'non-musical' students."

Paradoxically, scientists didn't seem to be interested in feedback.
After all, if the same part of the brain is responsible for the development of mathematical and musical abilities, it is possible that doing mathematics improves musical abilities.

I remember Sherlock Holmes, who was both an excellent detective and a talented violinist. Many will say that the famous English detective is just a fiction, but he had his own real prototype, a mentor and friend of Arthur Conan Doyle. The greatest physicist Albert Einstein was also a passionate violinist.

5. Math Helps You Succeed in the Humanities

It is early mathematical abilities that are a sure prerequisite for the fact that in the future the child will not only understand mathematics well, but also succeed in other school disciplines. Next in importance for contributing to academic success are reading skills and the ability to manage one's attention.

Such conclusions were reached by scientists in the field of education and social policy at Northwestern University in Evanston. During the study, they assessed the relationship of key elements of school readiness (basic skills for school admission - "academic" readiness, attention, social-emotional skills) with further academic success.

Mathematics is an interdisciplinary science, it is closely related to physics, geography, geology, and chemistry. Sociology and economics are inseparable from mathematics, and many of the conclusions of even the usual humanities, such as linguistics, journalism, are based on mathematical models and concepts, mathematical and logical laws.

6. Develops skills for solving everyday problems

Barbara Oakley, PhD, brain stem cell researcher and author of Think Like a Mathematician, emphasizes:

“Mathematics saves us from “magical thinking” - we strive to delve into the essence of things and do not rely on chance and higher powers.

The more difficult the math problems become, the more skills are required to solve them. The child learns to reason, build sequences, think through algorithms, juggle several concepts at once, and these skills become a habit.

Thanks to mathematics, we get rid of bad habits:

  • we do not speculate, but operate only in exact terms;
  • we do not just mechanically memorize information and rules, but evaluate it, analyze it, reflect in order to understand and learn new material, a new life lesson.

7. Mathematics is the basis of a successful career

If 10-15 years ago the study of foreign languages ​​was considered promising, now you will not surprise anyone with fluency in several languages. Now professional demand largely depends on the understanding of technology, the ability to think, abstract and the ability to solve non-standard problems. It is extremely difficult for those who want to work in the IT field to do without knowledge of mathematics.

Abstract, critical and strategic thinking, analytical skills, the ability to build algorithms are a “must-have” for a good developer.

TOP 5 soft skills. Source: amazonaws.com

Successful mathematics classes give self-confidence, because success in it requires perseverance in striving to solve the most complex, sometimes, at first glance, “unsolvable” tasks and problems.

Test your strength: Math puzzles to help you: 9 selected well-known tasks for ingenuity. How many can you decide?

8. Problem Solving Builds Mental Resilience

Solving mathematical problems helps to improve the emotional background - this activity can relieve anxiety, helps control emotions and prevents stress.

These conclusions were reached by scientists from Duke University in the United States, who were able to prove this in a study published in the journal Clinical Psychology in 2016.

9. Pleasure from "x"

For a serious student of mathematics, mathematical formulas, equations and other logical and mathematical problems embody beauty, harmony and provide the same aesthetic pleasure as music, art and a good joke, says a group of researchers from several universities in the UK.

With the help of functional magnetic resonance imaging, the activity of the brain activity of the subjects was recorded during the demonstration of mathematical equations, formulas and tasks. The results of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in 2014.

How to learn to experience the joy and pleasure of doing mathematics tells the famous American mathematician, a graduate of Harvard University, Stephen Strogatz. Applied Mathematics teacher, award-winning math and teacher in the pages of his book "The Pleasure of X" enthusiastically explains the most significant mathematical ideas in a simple and understandable way.

Try logic and math classes at LogicLike.com!

We are convinced that children, especially those aged 5-9, do not need to be told how important it is to study mathematics. It is much more important to give the child the opportunity to plunge into the world of entertaining interactive mathematics.

Learning on the LogicLike platform, children solve interesting logical problems, earn their first "star" awards for correct answers, play modern logic games - and get not only benefit, but also real pleasure from such mathematics.

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