Back to School Basics: What Parents Need to Know about 1st Grade Math

Last Updated on August 31, 2021 by Thinkster

If you have a child who just stepped into first grade, you may find yourself surprised by the jump from kindergarten to first grade in math class. In kindergarten, most instruction is on reading, and in math, number recognition and counting skills are the main focus. In 1st grade math, this increases significantly. Here is what your first grader is going to be expected to do.

Algebraic Thinking

In 1st grade, students are going to need to understand the properties of addition and subtraction. They will also need to understand that addition and subtraction are inverse operations, even if they cannot state that as such. Algebraic thinking will focus entirely on addition and subtraction equations.

Addition and Subtraction Facts

A major focus in 1st grade math is basic addition and subtraction facts. These will need to be mastered by 2nd grade, so students will practice working with them regularly. By the end of 1st grade they should be adding and subtracting within 20 with ease. They should also b e able to write and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. Word problems may be introduced in this grade.

Base Ten

In 1st grade, students are going to work a lot with place value in base ten. They will also extend the counting sequence past 100, and will be skip counting by 2s, 5s and 10s. Under Common Core, they will be using their understanding of place values and the properties of addition and subtraction to add and subtract. This may seem odd to parents, as they are used to adding and subtracting using rote memory alone, but it is an important skill in understanding how numbers work and preparing for harder problems in the future.


Measuring is quite fun for many first graders. They will be measuring lengths using a long list of units, including inches and centimeters.

In 1st grade, kids are going to learn to tell and write time. They will also work with simple charts to represent and interpret data.


Finally, geometry is a part of the first grade math curriculum. Students are going to need to reason about shapes and understand their basic attributes.

While none of this seems too hard, you never know when your child will need a little additional support. That’s where Thinkster Math comes in. Thinkster offers tablet-based instruction on these basic math concepts so students are prepared for all of the concepts they will be encounter in 1st grade math class. With Thinkster, your child will be well prepared for the challenges they may face this year.

Back to School Basics: What Parents Need to Know about 1st Grade Math
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Back to School Basics: What Parents Need to Know about 1st Grade Math
The jump from Kindergarten to 1st grade might cause surprise in terms of academics. Here's what you should expect from your child's 1st grade math.
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Thinkster Math
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