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Habits of a Good Mathematician

Neatness counts! Handwriting is important, even in math class. Taking time to organize work will allow your child to focus on the math involved, preventing the opportunity for computational errors.
Always double check your work. Students should strive to use two strategies for every problem in order to check their work.
Show all thinking on paper. When students show their thinking, it often helps the student keep track of his or her thinking and helps the teacher determine where errors are occurring.

Helpful Materials to Gather

Summer Activities

  • Objective: Recall basic addition and related subtraction facts and their fact families. This should also include combinations of 10 fact families such as 3+7, 7+3, 10-7, 10-3, combinations of 20 fact families such as 12+8, 8+12, 20-8, 20-12, and combinations of 100 such as 40+60, 60+40, 100-40, 100-60.
    • To build this skill, do not stress memorization of combinations. Rather, practice related combinations together. For example, “doubles plus one” combinations such as 4+5. As one strategy, the student can use a double they know to help them out. If they know 4+4=8, then 4+5 is one more than 8, so 4+5=9.
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  • Objective: Estimate solutions and solve addition and subtraction problems involving multi-digit whole numbers through thousands (including invented strategies and the traditional algorithm).
    • To build this skill, have your child practice solving story problems using multiple strategies. For a video tutorial of addition and subtraction strategies, please visit for parent reference.
    • To extend this skill, move to larger numbers. Students should be able to solve these problems through the thousands quickly and efficiently.

  • Objective: Extend number patterns as a foundation for multiples and factors including skip counting by 2, 5, 10, 25 up to 100.
    • To build this skill, practice skip counting with your child daily. This can be done more concretely with objects, or even verbally in the car when driving. Also practice counting backwards (this will help with subtraction) or to higher numbers such as 200. When skip counting, students do not need to begin with the number they are skip counting by. For example, when skip counting by 10’s, students can begin with 7. They would say, “7, 17, 27, etc.” Your child should be able to tell you that the pattern is adding ten each time, not counting by 7’s.
    • To extend this skill, practice skip counting by the numbers 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15.
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  • Objective: Identify time to the nearest hour, half hour, and quarter-hour including elapsed time.
    • To build this skill, practice telling time on an analog clock. Also, practice determining the difference in AM and PM times to the nearest hour, half hour, and quarter hour.
    • To extend this skill, practice telling time on the quarter hour and five minute intervals. Students can also practice working on elapsed time problems. For example, Mrs. Phillips left home for the mall at 3:00 PM. She returned home at 4:30 PM. How long was she gone
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  • Objective: Identify, combine, and compare amounts of money in cents up to $1 and in dollars up to $100, including making change for items purchased.
    • To build this skill, have your child practice counting and sorting change. One game that is great to play is called Collect $1.00. Students take turns rolling a dice and collecting that much money. When students have an amount that they can trade for another coin, they are encouraged to do so. For example, when students have 5 pennies, they should trade them for one nickel. Play continues until students collect $1.00.
    • To extend this skill, students can play Spend $1.00 (similar to Collect $1.00 mentioned above). In this game, students begin with $1.00 and work to spend it by trading down the value of coins. You can also play the game up to higher denominations.
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  • Objective: Select and use appropriate units to measure length, weight, capacity, and temperature, both standard and metric.
    • To build this skill, give your child access to measuring tools such as a ruler, measuring tape, measuring cup, scale, and thermometer. Help them practice these measurements and have conversation on why these measurements are important in everyday life. For example, knowing how to read a thermometer can help decide what clothes to wear to school each day.
    • To extend this skill, practice comparing the measurement of items. For example, the weight of an apple is greater than the weight of a grape. One quart holds more water than one cup. One foot is longer than three inches.
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  • Objective: Identify two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.
    • To build this skill, go on a scavenger hunt around your house for two and three dimensional figures. Focus on two-dimensional figures with three sides (triangles) and four sides (quadrilaterals.) Focus on three-dimensional figures such as cubes, rectangular prisms, cones, spheres, and cylinders.
    • To extend this skill, focus on two-dimensional shapes with five sides (pentagon), six sides (hexagon), seven sides (heptagon), eight sides (octagon), nine sides (nonagon), and ten sides (decagon).
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  • Objective: Represent, compare, and explain halves, thirds, quarters, and eighths.
    • To build this skill, remember that fractions are equal parts of a whole. Discussions about fractions can take place using food (such as evenly cutting brownies, pizza, or chocolate bars) or even money (such as ½ of a dollar).
    • To extend this skill, students can compare fractions using inequality symbols (>,<,=) and explain their reasoning.
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