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Mathematics in First Grade

As in kindergarten, mathematics in grade one is more concrete than abstract. Children's work consists not of hundreds of worksheets with problems such as 2+2=__ but of manipulating buttons and other objects, seeing patterns, and understanding the various uses of quantitative concepts. In this sense children use math in the course of working with science, cooking, health, social studies, reading, and writing.

In more traditional terms, they count and write numbers on an ever-increasing scale, from 20 to 30, from 30 to 40, and so on. Their concepts of order expand from fifth to sixth and on to twelfth; they use such symbols as +, -, =, <, and >; they gain a firmer grasp of addition and subtraction; they begin solving "story" problems (written problems that relate as much as possible to children's experiences); they do more work with shapes and segments of shapes; they are introduced to the concepts of whole, half, and quarter; they master time telling to the half hour, if not to the minute; they gain a fuller sense of historical time; they use standard measures such as cup, pint, and teaspoon. They learn to estimate: How many seeds are in a pumpkin? Does the size of the pumpkin make a difference? How much difference?

They move from these estimates to estimates of length and distance, and they make graphs of their estimates and measurements. As a result of this varied approach to math, children come to see the mathematics involved in buildings and bridges, in quilts, in buying the right amount of wallpaper, in knowing how much money they must save to buy a particular toy or a radio.

Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your Kindergartner -- 1st Grader by Vito Perrone, published by published by Chelsea House Publishers
Copyright Ó 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.

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