First Grade Math Curriculum

The six/seven-year-olds live immersed in a world of imagination and images, so it is important to bring mathematical concepts to them through imagination, movement, and as many senses as possible. We strive to nurture an appreciation for the richness, beauty, and mystery of the world of mathematics. 

Hence the characters of Tamara Times Multiply and Divinia the Divider, whose stories the 1st graders are following through manipulatives (gems) in their math block. The stories provide a point of entry to the image-hungry first grader, and the gems provide a foundation of understanding through the senses. 

Each morning lesson begins with 30 minutes of math warm-ups, colloquially known as ‘circle time’. The teachers choose activities for students to explore the relationships of numbers through movement, rhythm, teamwork, speech, and song. For example, working on a simple group dance to the song “Shoo Fly.”

In addition to all of the great things that group dancing engenders, they also invert a circle in the “Shoo Fly” song, which the teacher will revisit in the 8th grade as they study loci in the context of conical sections (parabolas, hyperbolas, etc). Circle time also sees daily work with skip counting, which will turn into multiplication tables next year, and number lines, which really helps to solidify a strong sense of numbers.

After circle time, the class transition to individual and group work at their desks. It is here that they explore mathematics through imagination and story, by translating stories into the visual and kinesthetic with gems and drawings, and then further translating them into concepts by writing and saying the number sentences and equations. They will continue this immersive rhythm of discovery for the next two weeks as they meet two more of the math friends, Baker Plus Addition and Linus Minus Subtracto.