Year 2 Mathematics at school: what to expect

Focus on number

During Year 2 at school, a large part of mathematics teaching time is focused on number learning.

By the end of the year

By the end of the year your child will be meeting the Year 2 mathematics standard if they are solving realistic problems using their growing understanding of number, algebra, geometry, measurement and statistics.

They will be exploring increasing and decreasing number patterns such as counting by two from any starting point. They may use their fingers to help them keep track of numbers. counting and using objects to solve problems.

Meeting the standard

To meet the standard your child will be learning to:

  • solve addition and subtraction problems using numbers up to 100
  • count in 2s, 5s and 10s, forwards and backwards
  • find ½, ¼ and ⅛ of simple shapes and collections of objects
  • sort objects into common groups and describe what they have done
  • ask and answer questions, and display their findings
  • give and follow directions
  • measure objects using their hands, feet or a pencil.

This is a small part of the skills and knowledge your child is learning in order to meet this standard. Talk to the teacher for more information about your child’s learning.

Mathematics problems at this level might look like this

The illustration shows 3 rows of spoons and 4 rows of bowls containing breakfast cereal.

Each row has 3 spoons and 3 bowls.

Teacher: Imagine there are 9 spoons and 12 bowls. Each bowl needs a spoon. For each bowl to have a spoon, how many more spoons are needed?

Student: I worked this out by counting on from 9. So, 10, 11, 12. I found 3 more spoons are needed.

Ask the teacher what your child is doing in mathematics. Talk about how you can work together to support your child’s learning.

Mathematics at home

Mathematics is an important part of everyday life and there are lots of ways you can make it fun for your child.

Being positive about mathematics is really important for your child’s learning – even if you didn’t enjoy it or do well at it yourself at school.

Support your child

Parents, family and carers like you play a big part in your child’s learning every day – you can support and build on what they learn at school.

Mathematics, like reading, is a skill that is learnt through practice.

Talk together and have fun with numbers and patterns. Help your child to do these things.

  • Find numbers around your home and neighbourhood and look for patterns (for example, 7 on a letterbox, 17 on another and 27 on another).
  • Count forwards and backwards starting with different numbers (for example, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, then back again), and have fun by taking turns to say the next number. Make patterns when counting forwards and backwards (for example, 5, 10, 15, 20 then 20, 15, 10, 5 and 30, 40, 50, 60 or 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 …).
  • Solve addition and subtraction problems (for example, 8 + 4, 16 − 3). Ask your child how they solved the problems (for example, Did you count forwards or backwards in your head? Did you use your fingers? Did you solve it another way?). Have them try addition and subtraction problems by counting forwards or backwards in their heads (for example, 8 + 4, 16 − 3).
  • Count the number of flowers in a garden, or trees in a park.
  • Learn different ways to make 10 (for example, 6 + 4, 3 + 7).
  • Double and halve numbers to 20 (for example, 7 + 7 is 14, half of 14 is 7).

Use easy, everyday activities

Involve your child in activities like these.

  • Sort washing, odd socks, toys, cans, etc. while tidying up.
  • Share your favourite numbers with each other and explain why you like each number.
  • Read, noticing and talking about numbers of things. Ask questions about the pictures like ‘How many birds are there? How do you know? How did you count?’
  • Do a shape and number search together wherever you are, for example, for number of shoes, shapes of doors and windows.

The way your child is learning to solve maths problems may seem strange. Ask questions. Get your child to show you how they do it and support them in their learning.

For school holidays, weekends or rainy days

Here are some suggestions for what you and your child can do together.

  • Use maths-related words during play (treasure hunts, obstacle courses, building huts from cardboard boxes – ‘inside’, ‘outside’, ‘in front of’, next to’, ‘behind’, ‘under’, ‘over’, ‘between’, ‘around’, ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘heavy’, ‘light’, ‘round’, ‘your turn next’, ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘left’ and ‘right’, ‘square’, ‘triangle’. Use the language that works best for you and your child.
  • Play ‘I spy something that is longer, bigger, smaller than …’, and do pen and paper games (for example, noughts-and-crosses, dots and boxes and crosswords) and jigsaw puzzles together.
  • Play with water using differently shaped containers and measuring cups.
  • Talk to your child about the recipe/ ingredients and how much you will need to feed everyone.
  • Dance to music and sing or clap to favourite songs.
  • Play with a pack of cards. Make up addition and subtraction problems using the numbers 1 to 20.
  • Look at a calendar. Ask ‘how many days/ weeks until [an event]?’, ‘how many days in the month?’, ‘how many weekends?’. Encourage your child to look for patterns.