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Typical First Grade Math Curriculum

Goals and Expectations for Math


Updated July 11, 2012

Children are introduced to numbers and math concepts in kindergarten. The math skills they learn in first grade build on the concepts they should have learned by the end of kindergarten. They begin to have a better understanding of number concepts and expand on their math abilities. The specific goals for a first grade class can vary a bit from state to state and school to school, but there are some general expectations. In general, your child will be expected to be able to do what is on this list by the end of first grade.

Numbers and Counting

  • Count by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 25’s past 100
  • Read, write, and understand numbers to 999
  • Identify numbers in the ones and then tens place in a two-digit number
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the parts-to-whole relationship by modeling simple fractions (1/2, 1/4, and whole) using manipulatives and pictures

Classifying and Estimating

  • Classify familiar two- and three-dimensional objects by common attributes (color, position, shape, size, roundness, number of corners) and explain which attributes are being used to classify the objects
  • Estimate answers to addition or subtraction problems and then solve the problem and compare answer to the estimation (Ex: How many quarters do you need to buy an ice cream bar that costs $1.25?)
  • Estimate number of objects in a collection (i.e. number of circles on a page, number of marshmallows in a bag, etc.)

Shapes, Graphs and Data Analysis

  • Identify and describe one- and two-dimensional objects (circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, spheres, cylinders, rectangular prisms, pyramids, cones, and cubes)
  • Identify, describe, and extend simple repeating patterns (i.e. 1, 3, 5 – next number is 7
  • Collect and organize data and record it in tally charts, tables, bar graph, and line graphs

Measuring and Comparing

  • Measuring in standard and non-standard units
  • Compare volume of liquids in containers of different sizes
  • Compare the length, weight, and volume of two or more objects by using direct comparison or a nonstandard unit
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of less than, equal to, or greater than by comparing and ordering whole numbers to 100 using the symbols for those concepts (<, =, >)
  • Identify one more than, one less than, 10 more than, and 10 less than some other number
  • Order objects by weight from lightest to heaviest

Time and Money

  • Count combination of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies to at least $1.00
  • Tell time to the nearest quarter hour on both a digital and analog clock
  • Relate time to events (longer, shorter, before, after)
  • Read a calendar and identify the month, date, and days of the week

Adding and Subtracting

  • Add and subtract to and from 30
  • Add three one-digit numbers
  • Solve addition and subtraction problems with one- and two-digit numbers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of mathematical symbols (+, -, =)
  • Create and solve problems with a known answer (i.e. 3 + __ = 5)
  • Solve simple story problems
Some mathematically gifted children may be able to do some of what is on this list before the end of first grade. For instance, they may be able to add and subtract single digit numbers in their heads. Some may even be able to add and subtract double digit numbers in their heads. And a few are even able to do some of it before they enter kindergarten!
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