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, space, measurement and statistics.

They will be thinking about and describing numbers in different ways. When solving number problems, they will make them easier to solve by adjusting the numbers involved. For example, 8 + 5 could become 8 + 2 + 3. They may use their fingers to help them keep track of numbers.

Meeting the standard

To meet the standard your child will be learning to:

  • use a range of strategies to make calculations involving one- and two- digit numbers
  • notice and create patterns using numbers, shapes and objects
  • recognise halves, quarters and eighths in various situations
  • tell analog clock times to the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour
  • pose and explore questions, and represent findings
  • give and follow directions regarding location, and refer to maps
  • measure length with informal units such as a hand, foot, pencil or paperclip.

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.

© Commonwealth of Australia. Adapted from New Zealand Ministry of Education copyright material. Easy_Company

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 the home and neighbourhood, notice any patterns, and talk about their purpose (e.g. letterbox number patterns, clock numbers, fridge temperature).
  • Play with counting patterns. Take turns to say the next number when counting forwards and backwards from different starting points (e.g. 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, then back again). Explore counting forwards and backwards by other multiples (e.g. by 2s, 3s, 5s and 10s).
  • Talk about different ways to solve addition and subtraction problems (e.g. 8 + 4, 16 - 3). Model curiosity about how one problem can be solved. Ask ‘How did you solve it? Did you count on in your head?’ Take turns sharing different methods, for example, for 8 + 4, one strategy is using fingers to track counting forwards from 8. What’s another way?
  • Notice numbers in nature. Count how many flowers in a garden, or trees in a park.
  • Think about and describe numbers up to 10 in different ways (e.g. 10 is 4 + 6, 3 + 7 and 2 + 8. It’s also 1 more than 9 and 2 more than 8. It’s 1 less than 11 and 2 less than 12).
  • Double and halve numbers to 20 (e.g. 7 + 7 is 14, half of 14 is 7).

Involve your child in easy, everyday activities like these

  • When tidying up, sort washing, odd socks, toys or cans. Notice ‘how many’ are in a collection and explore ways to organise objects so they’re easier to count.
  • Share your favourite numbers with each other and explain why you like each number.
  • Play with numbers as they come up in the environment. Share what you notice and wonder about numbers on number plates, price tags and birthday dates.
  • Do a shape and number search together wherever you are, such as, the number of shoes or the 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 such as these during play: ‘in front of’, ‘next to’, ‘outside of’, ‘inside of’, ‘under’, ‘over’, ‘square’, ‘triangle’, left’, ‘right’, ‘clockwise’, ‘anticlockwise’.
  • Play games. Play ‘I spy something that is longer, bigger, smaller than …’ Play pen and paper games (e.g. noughts-and-crosses, dots and boxes) and do puzzles (e.g. crosswords and number puzzles).
  • Play with water using differently shaped containers and measuring cups.
  • Play with a pack of cards, dominoes, dice and board games. Do jigsaw puzzles and build with blocks. Access play materials at a local toy library.
  • Play with water using containers and measuring cups of different shapes and sizes.
  • Cook together. Talk about the recipe and ingredients using language like ‘how many?’,
    ‘how much?’ and ‘more’. Count out the different amounts used (e.g. teaspoons). Discuss how many half or quarter cups are needed to make 1 cup.
  • Dance to music and sing or clap to favourite songs.
  • Look at a calendar. Invite your child to share what they notice and what they wonder. Encourage them to look for patterns. Ask questions like ‘How many days, weeks or sleeps until (an event)?'

© Commonwealth of Australia. Adapted from New Zealand Ministry of Education copyright material. Collender