Math Operations Activities for 2nd Grade

A few weeks ago, we did some math operating in our homeschool 2nd grade class! :)


And, ya'll, I wish we had worked on this much sooner!  My kid is a strong math thinker, who struggles with notation or showing/telling me how he figured out his answer.  His little brain works so fast that he has a hard time using the right language to explain his thinking.  That has been my main goal this year for him.  


I knew it was important for him to know and understand the 4 math operations, but I had no idea just HOW helpful it would be in giving him more math language to frame his thinking and ultimately write down his notation in a mathematical way.  


Sound familiar?  Here's a look at our week of math operations!



Introducing Math Operations

We kicked off the week introducing math operations.  I wrote the numbers 6 and 2 on the board and asked, "6 and 2 come to our math hospital.  There are 4 math operations that we can do with these numbers.  What's one thing we can do to 6 and 2?"


As we listed out the operations, we charted them.  We charted the symbol, the name of the operation, the sample equation, and keywords or phrases we use when performing that operation.


Once we worked through all 4 operations and compared and contrasted them, we read the digital book from my Guided Math Workshop Plans called, "Socks for Knox."


Each page has a different story problem type.  We read the problem and discussed which operation we should use and why.  The answer is less important...in fact, that's why I used very low numbers.  I wanted him to think about the operation and not get caught up in the numbers.

Let's just take a moment to add that I really, *really*, wanted my 2nd grader to dress up in his old doctor outfits and pretend like we were performing surgery, but he wasn't having it.  #boys  This would make a super fun classroom transformation project though! :)


Math Operations Sort

In Guided Math Workshop, Mondays are mostly whole group days where most of the content is frontloaded and introduced.  Then, the rest of the week, kids work independently on the goals and content we learned on Monday.  They solve a new problem independently each day, play a hands on game with a partner, meet with a teacher in a small group to discuss their problem solving and work on a technology based game to practice the math skill from Monday.  You can read more about those routines here.


This week, our hands-on activity was an operations sort! We used the cards to sort symbols, equations, and stories into the 4 operation categories.


These cards can also be used to play memory!


Then, he did a cut and paste sort on his own.


All of this practice made a HUGE difference in his ability to show his strategies during problem-solving.  He was able to name the operation he needed to use and write his equation more easily.  

You can find all of these lesson plans and activities and more in my Guided Math Workshop Plans for 2nd Grade!


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