Hi everybody, I hope you don't mind some questions from a parent. I live in California. My daughter is in second grade and I was stunned about a month ago when she started bringing home multiplication (2s, 5s and 10s) and problems in her math homework. Then two weeks ago it was division! I don't remember doing multiplication at all until the fourth grade. Division was probably mid-fourth to fifth. This would have been in the late '70s. Here are my questions - - Does anyone know when this standard changed? That's a big leap! - Is this the age most states begin to teach multiplication? If not, in which grade does your state begin to teach multiplication? - Do most of the kids in second grade do well in this area, with only some strugglers, or are you kind of dragging most of them along? I ask this because a 7yo and a 9yo are so different in so many ways. - If they're doing this level of math in second grade, what are they going to learn in third and fourth grade? - For any long-time teachers, do you think that the kids are doing better or worse in math (and/or in school in general) with more being expected of them academically at younger ages? Or are you seeing signs of stress and overwork? My daughter and her close friends are kind of getting what they're working on in math, but there is quite a bit of dragging. By dragging regarding my daughter I don't mean that she's trying to get out of doing homework. I mean she's working really hard, alert and paying attention, but not quite getting it. She's a determined little girl. Her teacher even told me that if she's not quite done with something she'll finish it before going out to recess, even though her teacher says she can finish it later. My husband works with our daughter on her math homework and he can pull her along and get her to discover the answers on her own. Which is great, but when I asked him if he thought she could do it on her own, he said that he really didn't think so. (This is regarding math in general, not just multiplication.) Is this typical of second grade? Thanks for any input. I saw a post mentioning the website IXL. We're definitely going to be signing up for that. Looks like a great thing to do over the summer. Nancy

This varies greatly from state to state, but generally speaking more states are teaching more math subject areas earlier, and for shorter periods of time, then teaching them again the next year. In theory this is a 'spiral curriculum' that revisits topics until they are mastered, but in practice it doesn't produce very good results.

Apparently it is a content standard that 2nd grade teachers must teach per the state. Here is what the standards say: 3.0 Students model and solve simple problems involving multiplication and division: 3.1 Use repeated addition, arrays, and counting by multiples to do multiplication. 3.2 Use repeated subtraction, equal sharing, and forming equal groups with remainders to do division. 3.3 Know the multiplication tables of 2s, 5s, and 10s (to “times 10”) and commit them to memory. This was found at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/mathstandard.pdf At any time you can view all content standards online by googling Ca content standards.

Hi! I am a 2nd grade teacher in California; thus, I know the standards very well. ALL 2ND GRADERS IN CA should master multiplication by 2s, 5s, and 10s. It will be on the CST (California Standards Test)!!! In fact, there are several multiplication problems on the CST. Furthermore, division is introduced in 2nd grade here in CA. It is a grade-level standard! Basic division is introduced (i.e., Mary has 10 marbles. She wants to equally divide the 10 marbles among her 2 friends. How many marbles will each friend get?). There are at least a handful of division problems on the CST, too! Hope this helps! :thumb:

And like Grover said, it varies state to state. It seems to be a common theme however. In Arkansas 2nd grade students learn the basics of multiplication and division. Then in 3rd grade (beginning of year) it is really stressed.

I am a CA 3rd grade teacher, and yes, those are the standards. In third grade, students commit all multiplication/division facts 0-10 to memory. At this point in the year they are multiplying problems like 1250 x 8 and solving long division such as dividing 4 digit numbers by one digit. They even have to be able to apply their understanding of multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division to word problems.

I teach the concept of multiplication and division in 2nd per state standards - IMO they're perfectly capable.

I agree, they're perfectly capable, and in fact I've taught multiplication, division and simple algebra to first graders. The issue is not whether these topics are taught, but whether there's a unified structural approach, and unfortunately most of the math curricula I've seen are too scattered and treat each of these topics as separate issues. Kids learn something in most of these approaches, but often fail to gain any real mastery, as our country's poor overall standing in world math rankings shows. Part of my problem with state standards is that basing them on what kids can learn doesn't provide any overall structure to what they are actually taught, and many cases the result is a very disconnected approach that provides for poor long term retention. Kids can learn almost any particular thing at surprisingly early ages if that's the focus of your energy, but this doesn't necessarily translate into long term retention or mastery of underlying concepts.

I was going to ask this yesterday but didn't have time, and maybe someone else already did... But has your child mastered addition and subtraction facts? If not, then I would be worried. Cart before the horse, you know...

Texas - My 1st grade son has been introduced to the simple division principles stated above (i.e. dividing groups in various numbers of parts), a little multiplication, and even some precursors to algebra. BUT, no real memorization of multiplication tables or anything like that.

I agree with emissary. My kids are doing what is essentially multiplication and division right now (more multiplication than division). To them, it is called "skip counting" though. (There are four bicycles, how many wheels? - They figure out by skip counting by twos... but it's essentially early multiplication. They are perfectly capable.)

I teach third grade and we do multiplication and division. At the end of the year our second grade teachers usually do a week of multiplication, but I don't think it is a standard for 2nd grade here.

I remember doing multiplication and division when I was in 2nd grade (20 years ago). I wasn't ready, though, and I remember being incredibly frustrated. I blame 2nd grade multiplication for my "I hate math" attitude, which I carried with me until my junior year of college.

I teach 2nd in Ohio and next week I'll begin multiplication. It ias introduced as skip counting by 2's, 5's and 10's, it is a standard. it is introduced in 2nd an in 3rd they will see it again.

in second grade the students recite the times tables chart every morning. They do learn it - but have no understanding of it and most forget them over the summer vacation so it offers no real advantage in third grade

We teach multiplication facts in third here, but students are introduced to the concept of multiplication in second towards the end of the year.

As part of a morning meeting, they'll say "2x2 equals four, 2x3 equals six etc.." sometimes its done to excercise with a leader saying 2x2 equals, and the class does a jumping jack and shouts out four

In Louisiana, the formal algorithm isn't introduced until 3rd grade in the curriculum, but most of the textbook series that parishes have adopted introduce the basic skills starting at a much younger age.

Spiral curriculum... Okay that's makes sense. Although it makes me think about my own early school life. I was convinced that I was too stupid to understand math by the time I was out of elementary school. I was incredibly shy, so I never asked questions. In high school a friend of mine tutored me in math and refused to let me think I was stupid. She showed me how all they are are little puzzles. I had put up such a major mental block to it that math made my thought process freeze up. After my friend tutored me, I did fine. It was kind of fun actually. I really like being able to look at the California Content Standards. That's incredibly helpful. I never knew it was listed out so plainly. I'll share that information with other parents as well. Knowing what's coming up the next school year is a great way to decide what to focus on with extra work over the summer. She's doing okay on addition and subtraction math facts, but not great. We'll focus on that for now. Once she gets all of that, I'll make sure she at least has the 2s, 5s and 10s memorized before school starts in the fall. (By the way, what numbers do they memorize after that?) That way she'll have some confidence in those first few weeks. I'm glad to hear that this level of math is appropriate and achievable at her age. Like some of you, I don't like the concept of spiral curriculum. On the other hand, if she walks into third grade knowing her addition and subtraction facts backward and forward, and is starting to memorize some multiplication, she'll be able to focus better on math concepts rather than being worried about catching up on what she forgot over the summer. We'll see how the summer goes. Hopefully doing some math games and joining some websites that help her memorize her facts will make a big difference. I wish schools were more open about content standards being so readily available to everyone. I mean, obviously they are readily available. I just had no idea. I liked being able to look through the higher grades and see what she'll be learning the next few years as well. Thanks a lot for all of your input on this. I feel a lot more hopeful about this than I did a few days ago. Nancy

GFNancy, it's not spiraling that's the problem, it's the way it's generally done. Regardless of whether a curriculum is spiral or not, it's important that each element be developmentally appropriate, that each element build on previous elements, and that each element get enough attention that the key aspects are retained. Unfortunately, this combination is rare in practice. The best math curriculum I know (Gattegno) is highly spiral. Many others that claim to be spiral are, in fact, merely scattered.

So with a true spiral curriculum are concepts revisited within a short amount of time (a week or two)? The curriculum my daughter's school uses seems to go back and review after a couple of months. So the pattern seems to be that concept A is introduced and worked on. Not to the point of mastery, but they're starting to get it. Then they move on to concept B, same thing - no mastery. Then C - no mastery. Then D - no mastery. Then E - no mastery. Then for the review section of the homework, while introducing concept F, they go all the way back to A for "review" when by this time my daughter has completely forgotten what to do. A good example of this, and a big part of why I started pulling my hair out last week, was having to re-teach her how to regroup on a subtraction problem. She did not remember how to do it. She remembered crossing out the number in the 10s column and reducing it by one, but she didn't remember that she needed to take the one she just borrowed and hook it onto the 1s column. In fact she argued with me that the teacher didn't say they were supposed to do that. And of course this homework was done on Wednesday night, the night before the last day of the CA STAR test. So I'm hoping that a big chunk of the regrouping subtraction questions were on Thursday, because holy mackerel... I had no idea she lost that concept along the way. Well at least they don't start considering holding kids back because of STAR test results until 3rd grade. I'm going to start writing our own review sheets based on what she's learning. Even just a few problems on each concept I'm sure will help keep her from getting rusty. When looking for ways to learn math facts, I came across Rocket Math, which looks fantastic. It's a very reasonable price too. At 10-15 minutes a day it's perfect for us to do over the summer. I also saw some good mentions of it on this forum. The woman on the video explained what I realize I've been doing wrong with using flashcards at home. Every time she's passed a math facts test, instead of just focusing on her learning 6s, I add the 6s to the huge pile of flashcards that she's already passed. And because she's such a trooper, she'll sit down and do them without complaining (much ) about it. So I'm just cramming her brain full instead of letting her focus on what she needs to learn. No wonder she's gotten stuck. Nancy

Yes, you have hit the 'bad spiraling' nail on the head. Properly done, a CONCEPT is applied in simple situations until it's mastered, a related CONCEPT is developed in a simple situation until mastered, the first CONCEPT is returned to and developed in a more complex setting, etc. Problems with many math programs include: A) having a strict schedule, so students move on regardless of whether mastery is achieved; B) lack of relationship between new concepts; and C) (this is the big one) teaching procedures instead of concepts.