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Mathematical Investigations in First Grade

November 8, 2021 | Becca Brasser


This month in math, we focus on addition, subtraction, and combinations within our number system. Students develop their understanding of numerals up to 20, recognizing, ordering, and writing them in a variety of settings. With ten-frames, they build the numbers between 10 and 20. Students become familiar with words such as greater than, less than, equal to, before, after, and next as they participate in math sessions. Students work with combinations of numbers, finding multiple ways to show a given total.


In these photos, students are pondering how to solve this problem:

I have 7 vegetables on my plate. Some are peas and some are carrots. How many of each could I have? How many peas? How many carrots?



They use and discuss many strategies for addition, including using pictures, building with cubes, mental math skills, and number lines.

During the course of the fall term, games introducing missing addends, combinations, and other basic algebraic concepts are introduced and used to help students become more comfortable with the number system. As they work with numbers, students make and recognize patterns, compare and contrast, draw conclusions, and find multiple solutions to problems. They also begin to determine whether equations are true or false. 

During the study of two-dimensional geometry, students identify, classify, and describe various shapes. They also create tessellations, use geoboards, and solve pattern block puzzles. They determine ways to fill an outline with more or fewer pattern blocks. 

Becca Brasser

Teacher, Grade 1

Becca Brasser has been teaching first grade at Mustard Seed School since 2002. She’s passionate about teaching children to read, write, experiment, and take risks as they explore the world around them. Her own studies (including a Master of Arts degree from New Jersey City University) have given her expertise and experience in the area of literacy education.

Ms. Brasser especially enjoys taking her students on field trips all over the New York Metropolitan area, traveling on foot, subway, bus, commuter train, and ferry. Some favorite trips: the Hudson Hike, the New York Transit Museum, and the Central Park Zoo to study penguins.

Although she lives in the city, Ms. Brasser loves escaping to nature and finding it in her everyday life as well. She loves to explore rivers and lakes, woods and mountains with her husband Matt, their daughter, Annika, and son, Theo.

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