Math Background

Modeling Addition: When Students Ask

  • Why should I learn addition?
    Lead children to see that adding groups saves time in calculating the cost of items at a store, keeping score in a game or sport, adding up the number of miles they've traveled on a trip, finding the total number of stickers in a pack, or finding how many cups of an ingredient are needed to increase the size of a recipe.

    Explain to children that knowing how to add will help them learn how to subtract and how to do more complex math later on.

  • Why do I need to learn the plus sign and equals sign?
    Explain to children that mathematical symbols such as the plus sign and equals sign tell what to do in a number sentence. Discuss other signs or symbols, such as stop signs, traffic lights, and danger signs, which children must instantly recognize and understand. Explain that mathematical symbols are part of a language that everyone understands and that the symbols and numbers are the same worldwide so that people can communicate mathematically even if they speak different languages.
  • How do I know when to add?
    Review words and terms such as in all, altogether, and sum that indicate addition. Remind children that whenever they need to combine groups, they need to add. Make sure children recognize the plus sign (+) and know that it is a signal to add.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1