A Look at Some 1st
Grade Common Core Problems
Common Core… Time to Dive In
My goddaughter is entering first grade this year. We all heard of Common Core Mathematics. My introduction to Common Core was an
unfortunate one: a Facebook post where a student was marked wrong because a
drawing wasn’t done correctly. However,
since Common Core in the United States is a reality and since I anticipate
being asked for help with the math homework, I’m going to need to check out
what is being taught in first grade.
I’m going to highlight some types of problems that might be
encountered in a first grade class.
I want to thank A+ Plus Math Coach, link: http://www.aplusmathcoach.com
for posting worksheets that cover Common Core math from grades K5. Most of the type of problems I will talk
about in today’s blog post is based of these worksheets.
Math Skills Emphasized
* Place Value, Tens and Ones
* Addition
* Subtraction
* Simple Graphs
* Counting
It would help if the student knows all the addition facts
involving 0 to 10. Yes, that addition
table we memorized as kids is still helpful.
For a full list of skills (it’s a long one), click
here: http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/1/OA/
Counting Problems
Sample Problem 1: How
many balloons are in the box?
Other counting problems have students arranging objects into
groups of ten when possible.
Sample Problem 2:
Rhonda has six pieces of candy and Rita has eight pieces of candy. How many pieces of candy do they have
together?
Illustrated is the candy Rhonda (dark brown pieces) and Rita
(tan pieces) have. One exercise to have
the student group the objects in tens when possible. For this problem, we can have one group of
ten pieces while four pieces are left over.
1 ten and 4 ones make 14.
Adding and Subtracting
Most adding and subtracting problems should be straight
forward. As I mentioned before, it will
help greatly if the student knows their addition tables.
Algebra, Without the Symbols
Some problems are presented as they come from first level
algebra. Instead of “Solve for X”, it’s
“Solve for the blank space”.
Sample Problem 3:
Fill in the blank: 5 + ___ =
8.
If the student knows their addition, the student would come
up with 3 as the answer. Sometimes, the
problem states “You have 5 units. How
many units do you need to make 8 units?”
Sample Problem 4:
Think of the problem 8 + __ = 10 to solve 10  ___ = 8.
“You have 8 units.
How many units do you need to make 10 units?”
“You have 10 units, how many units do you need to give away
to have 8 units left?”
The answer to both questions is 2. If someone finds a better way to explain
this, please post this in the comments.
Sample Problem 5: The
following sentence is false: 5 + 7 + 9 =
16. Remove one of the numbers on the
left to make the sentence true.
The goal here is to find the two addends in the sentence
that add up to 16. From the three
possibilities:
5 + 7 = 12, no
5 + 9 = 14, no
7 + 9 = 16, yes
Since 7 and 9 are required, the 5 needs to be removed.
Doubles
One concept that may be introduced is the concept of
additive doubles. Simply put, the
doubles are:
1 + 1 = 2

2 + 2 = 4

3 + 3 = 6

4 + 4 = 8

5 + 5 = 10

6 + 6 = 12

7 + 7 = 14

8 + 8 = 16

9 + 9 = 18

10 + 10 = 20

How can this come into play?
Some adding problems can be labeled as double plus one and double
minus one.
Sample Problem 6: 7 +
8
This can be seen as a double
plus one problem. Note we can break the 8 into 7 + 1, then we have 7 + 7 +
1 (a double addition of 7).
The thought process:
If 7 + 7 = 14 (double 7 fact)
Since 8 is 1 more than 7, add 1 to 14:
14 + 1 = 15.
An alternate strategy is the doubles minus one strategy.
Start by recognizing that 8 + 8 = 16 (double 8 fact)
Since 7 is 1 less than 8, subtract 1 from 16:
16 – 1 = 15
This a strategy that facilitates mental math.
For video explanation of doubles, click on this link from Stephanie
K: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbKkasLm5DY
or from Bob Kowalec: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elj4aup0wJk
Graphs and Polls
I saw several problems that would require students to read
graphs.
Sample Problem 7: Look at the table below, as a classroom of
students in Mrs. Roberts said what their favorite toy is. Mrs. Roberts tallies the results in the box
below:
What is the most popular toy? How many students participated in the poll? (and similar questions)
This type of problem encourages counting and reading graphic
representation of polls. (Answers: video game, 3 + 6 + 7 = 16)
Final Remarks
Other problems that I saw included requiring students to
mentally add and subtract 10, and compare numbers between 10 and 99 using place
value (compare tens digit first, then if they are the same compare the ones
digit first).
This is not going to be every
problem that could be presented in a first grade Common Core math class, but I
wanted to get an idea of what is taught in the classrooms. I don’t know how much different first grade
math is from today from when I was in first grade, which is 35 years ago.
Eddie
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Shore. Unauthorized use and/or
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