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First Grade Common Core Math Standards

With forty-one states adopting the common core curriculum, there is a very good chance your child is following the common core state standards. Below we will provide you a detailed insight into the first-grade common core math standards and with valuable resources to help your child succeed in school and at home. 

What is Common Core?

This is one of the most frequent questions we get asked by parents and across the board, there is confusion when it comes to the words "common core". Very simply, Common Core is a comprehensive list of standards that students need to know for English Language Arts (ELA) and math from kindergarten to 12th grade. 

Who created these common core standards?

Highly qualified teachers and experts all over the United States helped create the framework of what we know today as the common core standards. The main objective of creating these common core standards is so students can develop their critical-thinking skills, analytical skills, and problem-solving skills.  

Grade 1 Common Core Math Standards Overview

There are four main topics covered in the first-grade common core math standards.

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The chart below provides a comprehensive review of the learning standards for each of these four topics. 

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Operations & Algebraic Thinking

Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.

Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.


Solve word problems that call for the addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.


Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract.


Understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem. 

Add and subtract within 20.


Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).


Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 - 4 = 13 - 3 - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 - 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).

Work with addition and subtraction equations.


Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false. For example, which of the following equations are true and which are false? 5 = 5, 6 = 5 - 1, 4 + 3 = 3 + 4.


Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).

Operations and Algebrainc Thinking

Numbers &
Operation in Base Ten

Extend the counting sequence.


Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.

Understand place value.


Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones.


Compare two two-digit numbers based on meanings of the tens and ones digits, recording the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, and <.

Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract.


Given a two-digit number, mentally find 10 more or 10 less than the number, without having to count; explain the reasoning used.


Subtract multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 from multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 (positive or zero differences), using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.

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Numbers and Operation in Base Ten

Measurement & Data

Extend the counting sequence.


Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.


Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps.

Tell and write time.


Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.

Represent and interpret data.


Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.

Measuremet and Data
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Reason with shapes and their attributes.


Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.


Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape.


Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.

*The first-grade common core math standards were created by the NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). NGA Center/CCSSO is not affiliated with CommonCoreMath by ArgoPrep nor do they endorse any ArgoPrep products or programs. 

First Grde Workbooks. Limited time offer.
1st Grade Common Core Math Workbook
1st Grade Common Core ELA Workbook
Introducing Math Grade 1
Kids Summer Academy Grade 1

1st-Grade Curriculum 

Now that we understand the four main topics covered in first-grade math (Operations & Algebraic Thinking, Numbers & Operations in Base Ten, Measurement & Data, and Geometry), let's review in more detail what students are expected to learn throughout the year. 

1st Grade Curriculum - Numbers


During first grade, students will need to grasp the concept of numbers from 0 to 100. If different items were to be placed on a table, students should be able to sort them in terms of color, size, shape, use, and amount. First-grade students will understand the concept of fewer than, more than, less than and equal to.

Students will learn about basic place values and will be able to count in tens and ones. Furthermore, students will be comfortable on adding and subtracting numbers from 0 to 20 by the end of the year. 

1st Grade Curriculum - Measurements


Students will develop a foundational understanding of measuring. They will learn the use of linear measurements by using things like sticks or a ruler and iterating length units. First-grade students will also be able to identify an item as longer than, shorter than or the same length as another object. Students will understand the concept of mass in measurement by identifying an item as heavier than, lighter than or of equal weight as the object in comparison. This can be achieved through various activities, both in and out of the classroom. First graders can be asked to make to lines and measure them in variation to bring out the three situations: longer than, shorter than and as long as. They can also be asked to hold items of different weights and determine which one is heavier, lighter, and equal to the other.

1st Grade Curriculum - Geometry



First graders are required to develop reasoning about the attributes of different geometric shapes.

Shapes come in different forms — for example, straight lines, curved lines, circles, waves, etc. To better understand, teachers will introduce activities such as forming straight lines, forming circles, forming curved lines, drawing shapes on the ground, joining dots in class to create shapes, and the lines.

Learning is best when it is made fun. Students who have a positive outlook on mathematics from a young age will contribute significantly to a future full of critical thinkers who can quickly solve problems with a positive outlook on life. Check out our award-winning K-8 Math & ELA program to help boost your child's score and increase confidence. 

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Process standards

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) developed and outlined process standards that help teachers and educators teach students these common core standards appropriately. Below we will review these important process standards. There are five process standards (Problem-Solving, Communication, Reasoning, Representation, and Connections).  These process standards help students better grasp mathematical problems and how to solve them effectively. 

Online Math and ELA Prep

1. Problem-solving

Problem-solving is an integral part of math and students are immersed in the process of finding math solutions. Problem-solving requires a safe and friendly environment for the first-grader to explore their cognitive abilities to the fullest. The teacher achieves this by encouraging learners, and asking questions that promote thinking, such as,'why', or,' how did you come to that conclusion?

2. Communication

Many students fear math from a young age. Teachers are required to have the proper communication skills necessary to handle first-grade learners. This creates an environment where the child is confident enough to face the teacher with the problem that is bothering them as well as participate in classroom activities.

For example, a teacher can select one of the shy students to solve a simple math problem on the board. This will encourage the student to speak up and interact with the rest of the classroom.

The teacher can also make math lessons fun by incorporating flexible and fun teaching and learning methods in the class, such as a pie-eating contest for subtraction, or arranging learners from the tallest to the shortest for patterns.

3. Reasoning

First graders are known to overgeneralize things, especially when it becomes hard for them to make decisions. When faced with a problem, students may ignore patterns that require them to reason. Most times, they choose to use shortcuts, especially in this era where students have access to phone calculators and web searches like Google. 

Asking questions such as, ”how did you get that answer?” will ensure the learner avoids short cuts when solving math problems and that they show their work in proper order.

4. Representation

Representation requires the first-grade student to explain mathematical ideas in more than one way. For example:

  • Written symbols

  • Static pictures

  • Spoken/written language

  • Manipulative models

  • Real-world situations

Children at this grade level work best in real-world situations. They use this mode of representation to show a problem and then solve it within the mathematical context.

For example, use apples to solve addition or subtraction problems in class.

5. Connections

When you relate one math problem to another, then you are using the connection process standard. Connections help the learner to better reason. It is usually built up from previously learned lessons.

For example, when students are in kindergarten, they are taught colors. In the first-grade school, you can help them connect colors and addition by asking them the number of blue cups in a bucket.

There are six types of connections:

  • Representations

  • Problem-solving strategies

  • Mathematical topics

  • Prior or current math learning

  • Math and other subjects

  • Real-life situations and math

Boost your math score 

If you are looking to boost your child's math score, you've come to the right place! Aside from the free learning resources Common Core Math by ArgoPrep has to offer, our award-winning comprehensive K-8 Math & ELA subscription-based platform offers everything your child needs to boost their scores. 

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