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Elementary Mathematics

Kindergarten Math

Math for Kindergarten Students

Seattle Public Schools believes in the brilliance of every child. Kindergarten is going to be a great year where your child will use math to answer their questions about the world.

In Kindergarten your children will focus on three important areas of mathematics that are aligned with the Common Core standards – Counting, Addition and Subtraction, and Shapes.

Counting: There are three big skills to practice when learning to count:

  1. Students learn to know number names and the counting sequence to 100.
  2. Students learn that when counting, each object counted or touched corresponds to a number in the counting sequence (one to one correspondence).
  3. Students learn that the last number in their count tells them ‘how many’ objects were counted (Cardinality).

Putting together and taking apart numbers: Students talk about numbers and play with objects to understand how quantities can be combined to make numbers up to ten or broken apart into smaller quantities.  These skills are used to explore numbers between 11 and 20 and the place value system.

Shapes : Students will learn to identify, classify, and compose shapes based on features like the number of edges, angles, and curves.

See the parent guide in the right-hand column or the unit descriptions below for more details. 

Try This Math at Home

Practice counting regularly with your child. They should know how to count to 10 and beyond and understand what the numbers represent. Play games that involve counting, such as hide and seek, and incorporate counting into everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or eating.

Kindergarten Math by Unit

In this unit students begin to develop the principles of counting(opens in a new window). Comparing and counting small numbers is an important step for students who may already know the number names and or sequence. Developing relationships between language and the quantitative element of these small numbers is crucial.

In this unit, students compare objects and discuss attributes like number of sides or size.

  • Students use vocabulary such as “longer”, “taller”, “more”, “wider”, “next to”, “beside”, “under”, etc.
  • Students will compare abstract shapes like circles to real life objects. And compare shapes to each other to find differences in attributes and measures.
  • Students are also working on number comparison as they line up groups of objects or consider number of sides, to decide which group has more less.

In this unit, students build upon unit 1, where they counted objects through 10.

  • Students continue to count with 1:1 correspondence.
  • Students will work with Counting Collections(opens in a new window) of quantities 20-30.
  • Students will be composing, decomposing, comparing and ordering numbers up to 10.
  • Students will develop the generalization that the next number we say in the counting sequence is one more than the current number.
  • Students will begin to use identify how many are in a group and how many are in two groups joined together

This unit builds upon the learning in Unit 3: Numbers to 10. Students will be learning to read and write numbers to 20 and will be developing mastery of 1-1 correspondence when counting up to 20 objects.

  • Students develop an understanding of ‘teen’ numbers.
  • Use ten frames(opens in a new window) to show that numbers are made up of ten and additional ones.
  • Develop understanding of the ‘Ten’s Place’ and that it represents a full ten frame.
  • Compare and order groups (least to greatest) of up to 20 objects.

In this unit, students learn to recognize and name a variety of plane and solid shapes, and to compose and decompose those same shapes.

  • Students understand that certain attributes define what a shape is called (number of sides, number of angles, etc.) and other attributes do not (color, size, orientation).
  • Students use geometric vocabulary to distinguish between figures that are 2-D plane shapes (squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons) and 3-D solid figures (cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres).
  • Students use position and size vocabulary to compose new shapes from two or more primary shapes.

Counting to 100 is an end of the year goal for kindergarteners. Students will continue the use of  Choral Counting and Number Talks, and  Counting Collections  to further develop their counting principles.

  • Ten frames continue to be used to understand the tens place and it’s relationship to the ‘decade’ numbers (20, 30, 40…)
  • Continue to explore the composition of teen numbers (a ten and additional ones) and make connections to non-decade numbers greater than 20.
  • Using a ‘hundreds’ chart to establish patterns in our number system.

The focus of this unit is on comparing objects with measurable attributes and academic vocabulary.

  • Students will pair quantities in sets with numbers.
  • Compare sets using academic vocabulary to determine if the number of objects in one set is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another set.
  • When comparing sets, students can use matching strategies, counting strategies(opens in a new window) or equal shares strategies.
  • Develop a conservation of number – understanding that moving objects in a group does not change the quantity of objects.

In this unit students have many opportunities to represent addition and subtraction problems with concrete objects, pictures, and words.  Students are beginning to make sense of the relationships between quantities as they decide what actions to take in order to solve a problem.

  • This is a good time to introduce the concept of perseverance. Encourage students to try a different way to solve a problem if they get stuck, and to think about if an answer makes sense. It is important to ask students probing questions such as “How do you know?” to elicit their thinking.
  • Students will develop a ‘counting on’ strategy for addition.
  • Also, a ‘counting on or back’ strategy for finding the difference between numbers.
  • Students will connect this counting to a number line.

In this unit students continue to practice their counting abilities, understanding of quantities and begin to reason about and solve addition / subtraction expressions and equations.

In this unit students get to explore what it means to measure or quantify our world.  They will have opportunities to measure and compare length, height, distance, weight, volume, and time.

  • All the standards in this unit can be addressed by comparing objects and discussing attributes.
  • Students use vocabulary such as “longer”, “taller”, “more”, “wider”, etc.
  • Students will distinguish measurable attributes like a cans’ Hight or weight from non-measurable attributes like brand of soda in the can.
  • Students will use non-standard units of measurement for many experiences. Using paper clips to measure, rather than an abstractthing called an inch, makes the concept of measurement more real to young people. 
  • This gives students a chance to focus on the concept of length or weight without being distracted by learning a fixed system of units.