2nd Grade Math: What Happens

2nd Grade Math: What Happens

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Updated on Nov 5, 2008

Second grade math starts with a review of the basics from first grade and then moves to a series of new skills. Your budding mathematician will learn to order, label, and express quantities to solve problems. He or she will also begin to convert language into mathematical problems – understanding the math of everyday life while getting a little more formal with the way he or she expresses math problems. Pretty soon “take away” becomes minus and subtraction. Suddenly a simple “and” between phrases can make it an addition problem. Soon fractions become a part of your child's math world, as do patterns and spatial relationships.

Here's what your child should be able to do before starting second grade math:


  • Work with patterns and sequences

  • Add and subtract single and two-digit numbers

  • Tell time by hours and minutes

  • Estimate and predict simple outcomes

  • Count money
  • Identify place values to hundreds

  • Practice measuring length, capacity, and weight

  • Work with geometric shapes

  • Become familiar with the concept of symmetry

  • Count higher that 100
  • Identify the fractions 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4

  • Solve simple word problems


By the end of second grade students working at the standard level:


  • Add and subtract two-and-three-digit numbers

  • Collect and compare seasonal temperatures using a thermometer

  • Use time to sequence events of the day

  • Recognize, identify, and create a circle, quadrilateral, rhombus, square, triangle, trapezoid, hexagon, and parallelogram

  • Compare and contrast the characteristics of shapes

  • Model and find the perimeter of simple shapes

  • Estimate and measure length, weight, and capacity using standard units of measurement

  • Use appropriate tools and terms to explore measurement

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