What Is Taught In First Grade?



As parents, we all want to give our children a solid educational foundation in preparation for the future. But what is taught in first grade? Are your preschoolers ready for it, or should you give them extra practice before they begin elementary school?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, we can provide some insight into everything your little learner will need to know during their first year of schooling! From reading and writing fundamentals to mathematics and science basics, get ready to explore all the exciting topics in first-grade classrooms.

What Is Taught In First Grade Maths?

In first grade, children continue to build upon their foundation of math concepts learned in kindergarten. Here are some of the critical math skills and ideas that are typically taught in first grade:

Addition and subtraction:

  • First-grade students learn to add and subtract using numbers up to 20, for example, 9 + 6 = 15 and 12 – 5 = 7. They also learn related concepts such as missing addends and fact families.

Place value:

  • Understanding place value is crucial in first-grade math. Children learn to count up to 120 and understand the relationships between tens and ones. They also learn to recognize and read two-digit numbers.


  • First graders learn about measurement using standard units such as inches, feet, and centimetres. They also know about measuring time and telling time on analogue and digital clocks.


  • Children begin to learn basic geometry concepts, such as identifying and drawing two-dimensional shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. They also learn to recognize and name three-dimensional shapes.

Data and graphs:

  • First graders learn to gather and organize data, such as tallying, counting, and recording information in graphs, such as bar graphs, pictographs, or drawings.

Problem-solving skills:

  • First graders develop problem-solving skills by solving fundamental word problems using the skills and concepts they learn in class.

First-grade math focuses on developing a deeper understanding of core concepts and building upon the foundation established in kindergarten. By mastering these skills, children will be well-prepared for the more complex math concepts they will encounter in later grades.

What Is Taught In First Grade English?

In first grade, children continue to build on their foundation of English language arts (ELA) concepts learned in kindergarten. Here are some of the critical literacy skills and ideas that are typically taught in first grade:


  • Children continue to learn to read by recognizing and sounding out letters, blends, and digraphs. They begin to understand the concept of rhyming and how this affects language structure.


  • First-grade students increase their vocabulary by learning new words through reading and learning about new concepts from their environment.


  • First-grade students increase their fluency by practising reading out loud with a focus on tone, diction, and speed.


  • First grade is a time to build on the basic comprehension skills learned in kindergarten. They are taught to understand the main character, plot, and structure of various texts, along with details and inferring meaning.


  • Children learn the basics of writing, including capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structures. They are writing for different purposes like narratives, opinion essays, poems and letters.

Critical thinking and analysis:

  • In first grade, students learn to think critically and analyze various texts to identify critical details and concepts.

In first grade, teachers continue to focus on providing a nurturing and supportive environment for students to explore language and reading comprehension. By mastering these skills, first-grade students will be well-prepared for the more complex ELA concepts they will encounter in later grades.

What Is Taught In First Grade Science?

In first grade, children continue to explore and learn about the world through science. Here are some of the fundamental science concepts that are typically taught in first grade:

Living and Non-Living Things:

  • First-grade students learn to differentiate living and non-living things by identifying the characteristics and features of each.

Life Cycles:

  • Children learn about the life cycles of plants and animals, including simple food chains and food webs. They also learn about their basic needs.

Earth Science:

  • Students learn about the Earth’s features, including landforms such as mountains, coasts, canyons, and different types of soil and erosion. They also learn about basic Earth processes such as day and night, the seasons, and weather.

Physical Science:

  • Children learn the basics of physical science, including the properties of matter, the different states of value, and the concepts of force and motion.


  • First graders are introduced to the basic concepts of energy. They learn about different types of energy, such as light, heat, and sound, while learning to identify various energy sources.

First-grade science introduces children to the basic concepts of living and non-living things, the Earth’s features, and physical science. The Subject provides children with tools that lead them to be curious and investigative and encourages a lifelong appreciation and a responsibility to protect the natural world.

What Is Taught In First Grade Humanities?

In first grade, children develop their social studies knowledge as they learn about themselves and their communities, both present and in the past. Here are some of the critical humanities concepts that are typically taught in first grade:

Families and Communities:

  • Students learn about different types of families and how family structures may vary. They also learn about different types of communities, including towns, cities, and rural areas.


  • First graders learn about historical events and people, such as Native American history and American Revolution. They learn concepts such as timelines and identifying significant moments or people.


  • Children learn geography basics by identifying the continents and oceans and discovering other cultures, traditions and landmarks.

Citizenship and Governance:

  • First graders learn about role models, leaders, and how communities are structured around some authority or governance. They also learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in their communities.


  • Children get an introduction to economic activities such as identifying essential goods and services, recognizing different job types, and using money in transactions.

First-grade humanities focus on developing knowledge and understanding of self and community. They are introduced to the different structures, events, and people that make up their society. By mastering these skills, first-grade students will continue to improve their understanding of the humanities and the world around them.

What Is Taught In First Grade Physical Education?

Physical education is essential to a child’s holistic development in first grade. Here are some of the key concepts that are typically taught in first-grade physical education:

Movement and Coordination:

  • First-grade students learn the basic motor skills necessary for coordination, such as hopping, skipping, running, and jumping. They also know the concept of balancing and essential spatial awareness.

Physical Fitness:

  • Children continue to develop their physical fitness by engaging in various structured and unstructured physical activities, including stretches, endurance, and field-based games to promote cardiovascular health.

Teamwork and cooperation:

  • First graders develop their social skills through team sports and exercises. They learn teamwork by working towards a common goal and cooperation by playing within standard rules.


  • Safety is an essential component of physical education in first grade. Students are taught to adopt safe practices, identify vulnerable areas when playing, and respect space and equipment in physical activities.

Health Concepts:

  • First graders learn how nutrition and other lifestyle choices contribute to their physical well-being. They get introduced to healthy eating habits, the importance of hydration, and basic personal hygiene.

Overall, physical education in first grade is designed to promote the development of gross motor skills, positive self-esteem, and teamwork in a safe and nurturing environment. Students who learn these skills in the first grade are likelier to lead healthy, active, and positive lifestyles.

Top 10 Lessons Children Learn in First Grade

Here are the top 10 lessons that children are likely to learn in their first-grade year:

  1. Reading: Children learn to read, recognize words, and sound out letters.
  2. Writing: Students learn to write complete sentences and develop basic writing skills.
  3. Math: First graders learn basic math concepts like addition, subtraction, and place value.
  4. Science: Children explore living and non-living things, earth science, physical science, and energy.
  5. Social Studies: First graders learn about themselves, their communities, and basic historical concepts.
  6. Physical Education: Kids develop movement, coordination, and physical fitness skills, along with teamwork and safety practices.
  7. Art: Children are introduced to visual art concepts such as drawing, painting, and sculpture.
  8. Music: Students learn basic concepts such as rhythm and beat, creative expression, and cultural appreciation.
  9. Hygiene and Self-Care: First graders learn the importance of personal hygiene, healthy eating, and emotional regulation.
  10. Social-Emotional Development: Children develop social skills like communication, problem-solving, and self-regulation while being part of a positive learning environment.

These lessons shape the foundation for the future academic, social, and emotional success of the child.

As you can see, first grade curriculum is stimulating! From exploring literacy to soaking up math concepts and topics in science, social studies and art, learners have endless opportunities. The immense amount of information that little minds can process is incredible! 

It is also important to remember that early learners learn differently from older kids, so keeping the lessons exciting and engaging is essential. This gentle approach ensures your child develops a solid foundation for future learning. 

With the right combination of curriculum and skill-building knowledge, first graders will be on their way to outstanding academic success.

We here at The Teaching Couple hope this post has helped give you insight into what first-grade students are taught and inspired you to develop creative teaching methods for young children. Check out our other articles for expert tips on guiding your child through the fantastic world of first-grade learning!






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