Second Grade Math Skills: What Every Second Grader Should Know

Do you feel that your second grader needs some extra help in math? If so, find out what skills your second grader must know, include some home practice and watch your child excel academically. Read below to discover where you should focus your attention.

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Focus Areas of Second Grade Math

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

In second grade math, your child will be using addition and subtraction within 100 to solve 1-step and 2-step word problems. Your child should also be able to mentally add and subtract within 20.

To practice at home, present your second grader with a group of objects and ask him or her to determine if the number of objects is even or odd. At this grade level, it will also be important that your child can express the group of objects in an equation. For example, if you gave your child three chocolate chip cookies and three sugar cookies, he or she could write the equation 3 + 3 = 6.

Number and Operations in Base Ten

Your student should be able to count up to 1,000 and skip count by fives, tens and 100's. Your child will also need to understand how a number is broken down into hundreds, tens and ones; this place value knowledge will likely help your student add and subtract more fluently within 1,000.

You will also want to help your child practice comparing 3-digit numbers and use the correct symbols to show the results of the comparison. Second graders should also be able to mentally add ten or 100 to a given number (e.g., 4 + 100 = 400).

Measurement and Data

Measuring is a skill that your child will use throughout his or her school career and life, so it's important that he or she gains a solid understanding of this concept. At the second grade level, your child will need to be comfortable with measuring specific objects using standard units of measurement, such as inches or centimeters. You may also want to have your student measure the same object using two different units of measurement to compare.

Your second grader should be knowledgeable of inches, feet, centimeters and meters so that he or she will be able to estimate the length of various items with these units. He or she will also have to solve word problems that involve counting money and telling time to the nearest five minutes.


Help your student create a good geometry foundation by first making sure that he or she can identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons and cubes. At this grade level, your child should also be able to recognize and draw shapes that have specific characteristics. For example, you may ask your child to draw a shape that has four corners.

Dividing shapes into an equal number of parts is another important geometry skill for second graders. For practice, try drawing circles and rectangles and have your child partition the shapes into a specific number of equal sections. Keep in mind, geometry skills will be much easier for your child to grasp if he or she has physical objects to work with.

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