What Math Is Taught In Second Grade?

Written by Dan

Are you a parent of an aspiring second grader? If so, asking what math will be covered in the classroom is natural. After all, understanding what topics your child will learn can help you better support their academic development.

From mastering basic arithmetic operations to problem-solving strategies related to spatial relationships, modern education has come a long way since the early days of memorizing simple facts and equations. Read on for an overview of key concepts that make up second grade math and how they equip students with vital skills for future success!

Introducing Basic Arithmetic Operations

In second grade, students begin to learn and explore the world of mathematics more deeply. One of the critical milestones at this stage is understanding basic arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These foundational skills are essential for their mathematical journey ahead.

Here’s a guide to introducing these operations to second graders fun and engagingly.

1. Addition

Addition is the process of combining two or more numbers to find their total or sum. In second grade, students should be able to add single-digit and double-digit numbers.

Teaching Tips:

  • Use manipulatives like beads, counters, or blocks to help students visualize the process of combining numbers.
  • Teach students to use their fingers or draw tally marks as a counting tool for addition.
  • Introduce the concept of “making ten” to help students understand the importance of grouping numbers in tens.
  • Practice word problems that involve real-life situations, such as adding items in a grocery store or combining the number of people attending a party.
second grade math

2. Subtraction

Subtraction is finding the difference between two numbers by removing a smaller number from a larger one. In second grade, students should be able to subtract single-digit and double-digit numbers with and without regrouping.

Teaching Tips:

  • Use manipulatives to demonstrate subtraction by physically removing objects from a group.
  • Teach students to use a number line to visualize moving backward when subtracting numbers.
  • Encourage students to use mental math strategies, such as counting from the smaller to the more significant number.
  • Practice word problems that involve real-life situations, such as calculating change at a store or determining how many more items are needed to complete a collection.

3. Multiplication

Multiplication is finding the total number of items in a specific number of equal groups. In second grade, students should be introduced to multiplication using arrays and repeated addition.

Teaching Tips:

  • Use manipulatives to create arrays representing multiplication problems (e.g., four rows of three objects each represent 4 x 3).
  • Teach students to use the repeated addition strategy to solve multiplication problems (e.g., 4 x 3 can be solved as 3 + 3 + 3 + 3).
  • Introduce the multiplication table, first focusing on the easier times tables (2s, 5s, and 10s).
  • Practice word problems that involve real-life situations, such as counting the total number of items in multiple groups or calculating the number of days in several weeks.

4. Division

Division is separating a larger group into smaller, equal parts. In second grade, students should be introduced to basic division concepts using sharing and grouping strategies.

Teaching Tips

  • Use manipulatives to demonstrate division by evenly distributing objects into smaller groups.
  • Teach students to use sharing strategies, such as dividing a set of objects into equal parts by taking turns placing items into groups.
  • Introduce the concept of “remainders” when a group cannot be divided equally.
  • Practice word problems that involve real-life situations, such as dividing treats among friends or organizing items into equal groups.

Introducing basic arithmetic operations in second grade is crucial for building a strong foundation in mathematics. By using hands-on activities, real-life examples, and engaging teaching strategies, students will better understand addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Working With Numbers Up To 100

In second grade, students continue to build upon their foundational math skills by working with numbers up to 100. One of the key concepts they learn during this stage is place value, which helps them understand the importance of each digit in a number. This concept is crucial for developing strong number sense and lays the groundwork for more advanced mathematical operations.

Importance of Place Value

Place value is essential in understanding how our number system works. It allows students to recognize that the position of a digit within a number determines its value. For example, in the number 45, the digit 4 is in the tens place and has a value of 40, while the digit 5 is in the ones place and has a value of 5.

By grasping the concept of place value, students can better comprehend the relationships between numbers and perform calculations more efficiently.

Teaching Place Value in Second Grade

Some several strategies and activities can help second-grade students grasp the concept of place value for numbers up to 100.

  1. Base-10 Blocks: Introduce students to base-10 blocks, which consist of units (ones), longs (tens), and flats (hundreds). These manipulatives allow students to physically represent numbers and visually understand the concept of place value. For example, to represent the number 47, a student would use four longs and seven units.
  2. Expanded Form: Teach students to write numbers in their expanded form, breaking down each digit’s value according to its place. For instance, the number 63 can be written as 60 + 3. This method reinforces the idea that each digit has a specific value based on its position in the number.
  3. Place Value Charts: Use place value charts to help students visualize the position of each digit within a number. Have students place numbers on the chart, identifying the tens and ones places. This activity can be made more engaging by using colorful counters or stickers.
  4. Comparing and Ordering Numbers: Encourage students to compare and order numbers up to 100 using their understanding of place value. They can use symbols like greater than (>), less than (<), or equal to (=) to compare numbers and arrange them in ascending or descending order.
  5. Place Value Games: Make learning fun by incorporating games that reinforce place value concepts. Some popular options include place value bingo, place value memory match, and online interactive games.

Building a Strong Foundation

By mastering place value for numbers up to 100, second-grade students develop a strong foundation for future mathematical success. Understanding the value of each digit within a number is crucial for performing more complex operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Students can grasp this essential concept through engaging activities and hands-on learning experiences and continue to grow in their mathematical journey.

Exploring Fractions And How They Relate To The Whole Number System 

In second grade, students learn about fractions and how they relate to the whole number system. This skill is essential for young learners, as understanding fractions is essential for many aspects of math and everyday life. In this article, we will discuss the basics of fractions, how they connect to whole numbers, and provide some activities to help second-grade students explore these concepts.

What are Fractions?

Fractions are a way to represent parts of a whole. They consist of a numerator (the top number) and a denominator (the bottom number). The numerator tells us how many parts we have, while the denominator tells us the total number of equal parts the whole is divided into. For example, in the fraction 3/4, there are three parts out of a total of four equal parts.

Connecting Fractions to Whole Numbers

One way to help second graders understand the connection between fractions and whole numbers is to use visual representations. By showing students how fractions can be represented using shapes, they can better grasp the concept of parts of a whole.

For example, you can use a rectangle to represent the whole and divide it into equal parts to represent the denominator. Then, you can shade in the appropriate number of parts to represent the numerator. This helps students see that the fraction represents a part of the whole.

Another way to connect fractions to whole numbers is by discussing equivalent fractions. Equivalent fractions are different fractions that represent the same value. For instance, 1/2 is equal to 2/4 or 3/6. This concept can help students understand that fractions can be expressed differently but still represent the same part of the whole.

Activities for Exploring Fractions

Here are some fun activities to help second-grade students explore fractions and their relation to whole numbers:

  1. Fraction Pizzas: Have students create their own “pizzas” using paper plates or construction paper circles. Divide the pizzas into equal parts (e.g., halves, thirds, or quarters) and have students color in different sections to represent different fractions. This hands-on activity can help students visualize the concept of fractions.
  2. Fraction Number Line: Create a number line with whole numbers and fractions. Have students place various fractions on the number line to see how they relate to whole numbers. This can help them understand that fractions are simply another way to represent numbers between whole numbers.
  3. Fraction Bingo: Play a game of bingo using fractions. Create bingo cards with various fractions and call out equivalent fractions for students to mark on their cards. This fun activity can help reinforce the concept of equivalent fractions and encourage students to practice identifying them quickly.
  4. Fraction Story Problems: Create word problems that involve fractions and whole numbers. For example, “Samantha ate 1/4 of a pizza, and her friend ate 1/2 of the same pizza. How much of the pizza was left?” This type of problem helps students apply their understanding of fractions to real-life situations.

Students can build a strong foundation in mathematics by exploring fractions and their relation to whole numbers in second grade. Using visual representations and engaging activities, teachers can make learning about fractions enjoyable and accessible for young learners.

Understanding Basic Geometry Concepts

Geometry is a branch of mathematics that deals with shapes, their properties, and the relationships between them. For second graders, understanding basic geometry concepts such as shapes, lines, and angles is essential to building a solid foundation in math.


Shapes are the most essential elements of geometry and come in various forms. In second grade, students should be familiar with the following shapes:

  1. Circles – A circle is a closed shape made up of points that are all the same distance from its center. It has no straight sides or corners.
  2. Squares – A square is a closed shape with four equal sides and four right angles (90 degrees).
  3. Rectangles – A rectangle is a closed shape with four straight sides and four right angles. Its opposite sides are equal in length.
  4. Triangles – A triangle is a closed shape with three straight sides and three angles. The sum of its angles is always 180 degrees.
  5. Pentagon – A pentagon is a closed shape with five straight sides and five angles.

Activities to learn shapes:

  • Draw different shapes on paper or use shape cut-outs and ask your child to identify them.
  • Use everyday objects like cereal boxes, coins, and books to help your child recognize shapes in the real world.
  • Play games like “I Spy” with shapes, where you describe a shape and your child tries to find it in the room.


Lines are another fundamental concept in geometry. In second grade, students should learn about the following types of lines:

  1. Straight lines – A straight line is the shortest path between two points. It extends infinitely in both directions.
  2. Curved lines – A curved line is a line that bends or curves. It does not have a constant direction.
  3. Parallel lines – Parallel lines are two or more straight lines that never intersect (cross) each other. They remain at the same distance apart, no matter how far they extend.
  4. Perpendicular lines – Perpendicular lines are two straight lines that intersect (cross) each other at a right angle (90 degrees).

Activities to learn lines:

  • Draw different lines on paper and ask your child to identify them.
  • Use objects like rulers, pencils, and string to create various lines and help your child recognize them.
  • Look for examples of lines in your surroundings, such as parallel lines on a keyboard or perpendicular lines on window panes.


Angles are formed when two lines meet at a common point. In second grade, students should learn about the following types of angles:

  1. Right angles – A right angle measures 90 degrees and is formed by two perpendicular lines.
  2. Acute angles – An acute angle measures less than 90 degrees.
  3. Obtuse angles – An obtuse angle measures more than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees.

Activities to learn angles:

  • Draw different types of angles on paper and ask your child to identify them.
  • Use objects like protractors, rulers, and pencils to create various angles and help your child recognize them.
  • Play games like “Angle Detective,” where you describe an angle, and your child tries to find it in the room.

By understanding basic geometry concepts such as shapes, lines, and angles, second graders will be well-equipped to tackle more advanced math topics in the future. Encourage your child to explore these ideas through hands-on activities and real-world examples to make learning geometry fun and meaningful.

Building On Measurement Skills 

In second grade, students continue to develop their understanding of basic measurement concepts. This stage is crucial for laying a strong foundation for more advanced mathematical concepts in later grades. Second graders can build on their existing measurement skills by exploring time, money, and volume and learn how to apply them in real-life situations. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.


Time is a fundamental concept that second graders need to grasp. They should be able to:

  1. Tell time to the nearest five minutes: Using both analog and digital clocks, students should be able to read and write the time accurately.
  2. Understand time-related vocabulary: Students should be familiar with terms such as hour, minute, second, morning, afternoon, evening, and night to help them make sense of time.
  3. Calculate elapsed time: By using simple addition and subtraction, students should be able to figure out how much time has passed between two events or determine when a future event will occur.
  4. Create and interpret schedules: Second graders should be able to organize their day by creating schedules and understanding the sequence of events.


Money management is an essential life skill, and second-grade students should begin learning about coins and bills, their values, and how to perform basic transactions. Key skills include:

  1. Identify and count coins and bills: Students should be able to recognize different denominations of currency such as pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills, and count their values.
  2. Understand the value of money: Students should learn that money has value and can be exchanged for goods and services.
  3. Make change: They should be able to calculate the correct change required after purchasing.
  4. Solve money-related word problems: Second graders should be able to apply their knowledge of money to solve real-life problems, like determining the total cost of items or comparing prices.


Volume is another essential measurement concept that second-grade students should explore. They should learn to:

  1. Understand the concept of volume: Students should know that volume refers to the amount of space occupied by an object or substance.
  2. Compare volumes of different containers: By observing and comparing containers, students should be able to determine which container holds more or less.
  3. Estimate and measure volume: Using standard units such as cups, pints, quarts, and gallons, students should learn how to estimate and measure the volume of liquids.
  4. Solve volume-related word problems: With their knowledge of volume, second graders should be able to solve problems involving comparing and conversing volume measurements.

Developing problem-solving techniques and strategies for math problems

Second-grade students are at the perfect age to develop problem-solving techniques and strategies for math problems. At this stage, they have a solid foundation in basic arithmetic and are ready to explore more complex concepts. By teaching them effective problem-solving techniques and strategies, educators can help students build a strong foundation in mathematics that will benefit them throughout their academic journey.

1. Understanding the Problem

Before attempting to solve any math problem, second-grade students must understand the problem they’re facing. This involves reading the situation carefully, identifying the given information, and determining what is being asked. Encourage students to underline or highlight important words and phrases that can help them comprehend the problem better.

2. Visualizing the Problem

Many second-grade students are visual learners, so using visual aids like drawings, diagrams, and manipulatives can significantly improve their understanding of math problems. Teach students to represent the problem visually by sketching a simple diagram or using physical objects like counters or blocks. This will help them see the relationships between numbers and operations more clearly.

3. Developing a Plan

Once students understand the problem and have visualized it, they should develop a plan to solve it. Encourage them to think about the steps they need to take and the tools or strategies they can use. For example, they might decide to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, or they might choose to apply a specific problem-solving strategy like working backwards or using a pattern.

4. Implementing the Plan

After developing a plan, students should implement it to solve the problem. Remind them to work carefully and methodically, following the steps they’ve laid out. Please encourage them to check their work as they go, ensuring they haven’t made any mistakes or skipped any critical steps.

5. Reflecting on the Solution

Once students find a solution, they must reflect on their process and evaluate the result. Ask them to consider whether their answer makes sense in the context of the problem and if they could have used a different strategy or approach. This reflection will help them develop critical thinking skills and improve their problem-solving abilities over time.

Strategies for Problem-Solving

In addition to the general problem-solving process, there are several specific strategies that second-grade students can use to tackle math problems:

  1. Guess and Check: Make an educated guess, then check if the answer is correct. If not, adjust the guess and try again.
  2. Work Backwards: Start with the desired outcome and work backward to find the necessary steps to reach that outcome.
  3. Look for Patterns: Identify any patterns or relationships within the problem that might help reveal the solution.
  4. Break it Down: Divide the problem into smaller, more manageable parts, and solve each part separately before combining the results.
  5. Use Logical Reasoning: Apply logical thinking and reasoning skills to deduce the correct answer.

Math in second grade is an essential part of the learning process. Through repetition and hard work, children can build a strong foundation that will allow them to move on to more complex topics as they advance in their education. Knowing what math to expect in second grade classrooms can help parents, caregivers, and guardians support their students’ growth.

It can also help teachers adjust their lesson plans to focus on the best goals for each grade level. Math may not always be fun or easy, but it’s essential for students’ academic success. All students can excel at second-grade math with the right tools and support! Could you read our other articles for even more information about second and elementary-school coursework?


1. What are the key math concepts taught in second grade?

In second grade, students develop their understanding of basic math concepts such as addition and subtraction within 1000, place value, measurement, time, money, and basic geometry. They also learn to solve word problems involving these concepts.

2. How can I help my child with math at home?

You can support your child’s math learning by providing them with opportunities to practice math skills through games, puzzles, and everyday activities. Encourage them to talk about their thinking and problem-solving strategies. Additionally, you can reinforce the importance of math by discussing its relevance in daily life.

3. How much time should my child spend on math homework?

The amount of time spent on math homework will vary depending on the child’s individual needs and the specific assignment. However, it’s generally recommended that second graders spend about 20 minutes per day on math homework or practice.

4. What strategies can I use to help my child with addition and subtraction?

To help your child with addition and subtraction, you can use various strategies such as counting on, making ten, using doubles, and breaking numbers apart. Encourage them to use manipulatives, draw pictures, or use number lines to represent the problems they’re solving visually.

5. How can I help my child with word problems?

To help your child with word problems, teach them to read the problem carefully, identify the important information, and choose the appropriate operation (addition or subtraction). Encourage them to draw a picture or use manipulatives to represent the problem and check their work.

6. How can I make math more engaging for my child?

You can make math more engaging by incorporating fun activities, games, and real-life situations that involve math concepts. This could include cooking, shopping, or playing board games that involve counting and problem-solving.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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