Some second-grade math problems involve counting in number patterns, describing patterns, one-digit addition and subtraction, two-digit addition and subtraction, identifying fact families, knowing place values, learning multiplication tables and identifying shapes. An example problem is, "What is the pattern in the sequence 2, 4, 6, 8?" Another example is, "What is the product of 2 x 1?"
Counting in number sequences forces second graders to look at the numbering system in a fresh way and enhances their numerical skills. Numbers presented in different sequences, such as 3, 5 and 10, allow students to move from simple memorization to a deeper understanding of the concept of numbers. The ability to describe patterns of objects prepares students for more complicated number-pattern problems in later grades.
Addition and subtraction lessons move from single-digit problems, such as 4 - 2 = 2, to three-digit problems as students learn placement. Identifying fact families is important because it allows students to more efficiently and quickly solve problems within that family. For example, students learn to identify that, if 6 - 2 = 4, then 4 + 2 must equal 6. Reviewing place values goes on throughout the year, and this also lets students refresh their understanding of what a number is through the use of concrete graphs. Basic geometry is central in the second grade as students identify, describe and break down shapes into their physical attributes, such as length, height or width.
Second graders can also be encouraged to solve problems by using other skill areas, such as coloring, writing or reading.