2nd Grade Common Core Math Standards

Instructor: Jessica Keys
According to Common Core standards, by the time students begin second grade, they should have a working grasp of such fundamental math concepts as addition and subtraction, whole number place values, linear measurement and basic plane geometry. Over the year, these concepts will be expanded and developed even further. Read on to find out more about Common Core standards at this grade level.

Overview of Common Core Math Standards for 2nd Grade

The 2nd grade Common Core standards are intended to develop students' skills in both abstract and quantitative reasoning. These benchmarks also ensure students continue learning important problem-solving strategies, including how to utilize structure and repeated reasoning.

The 2nd grade Common Core standards have students developing these abilities in four general arenas:

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

These Common Core standards introduce students to the algebraic thinking required to solve word problems with unknown values. They also encourage students to develop their ability to perform mental math when working with even numbers or numbers under 20. By the end of 2nd grade, students should be able to:

  • Solve word problems requiring addition and subtraction (For example: Miss Pratt had 12 cakes when the bake sale started. By the end of the day, she had 4 left. How many cakes did she sell? 12 - ? = 4.)
  • Use mental math to add or subtract numbers of 20 or less
  • Count objects by 2 to determine if the total is even or odd
  • Recognize that even numbers result when 2 of the same numbers are added together
  • Work with rectangular arrays (up to 5 x 5)

If you're looking for a resource to supplement instruction in this area, offers fun video lessons that can help your students learn to solve math word problems, identify even and odd numbers and work with arrays.

Base 10 Operations and Place Values

Common Core standards in this area focus on developing students' understanding of place values of 1, 10 and 100 so they'll be able to count and compare as well as add and subtract numbers up to 1,000. Learning outcomes include:

  • Break down a 3-digit number into its component place values (For example, a number like 542 can be represented as 5 hundreds, 4 tens and 2 ones.)
  • Use place value concepts and operational properties to add and subtract multiple 2- and 3-digit numbers
  • Compare the place values of numbers in the hundreds to determine which number is greater or lesser
  • Count up to 1,000, as well as read and write these numbers using numerals and number words
  • Perform mental math with 10 and 100 and use skip counting

Check out's lessons on number sense for a review of these math basics, including place values, skip counting and number comparison. Additional lessons outline strategies for adding and subtracting multiple-digit numbers and performing mental math.

Measurement and Data

Measurement and data Common Core standards emphasize mastery of the mathematical modeling skills students will need to work with charts and graphs. Students also get an introduction to the units used to measure length, time and money. Learning outcomes include:

  • Use standard and metric units, such as inches and centimeters, to measure and estimate length
  • Work with measuring tools, such as rulers and yardsticks
  • Use different units to measure the same length and notice the relationship between the measurements and the size of each unit
  • Draw line plots, picture graphs and bar graphs and use them to solve problems
  • Represent numbers, sums and differences as 'lengths' on a positive number line (from 0 to 100)
  • Solve word problems that require the addition and subtraction of lengths
  • Tell time in increments of five minutes
  • Work with denominations of money, from pennies to dollar bills
  • Solve word problems that involve reasoning with units of money (For example: I have 2 nickels and 3 quarters. How many cents do I have?)

If your students could use extra instruction in this area, check out these lessons on the units of measurement. You can also help them practice creating and interpreting bar and line graphs with these data and graphs lessons.


Common Core geometry standards are all about ensuring students have the fundamental knowledge of shape properties they'll need to find dimensions of 2- and 3-D shapes as they advance in their studies. 2nd grade standards include:

  • Identify shapes based on their angles or equal faces, including triangles, rectangles, squares and cubes
  • Divide rectangles into rows and columns of squares, then learn how to use the system of rows and columns to get the total number of squares
  • Divide shapes into equally sized partitions (such as halves or quarters)
  • Describe whole shapes relative to their division (For example, one may describe a circle that has been divided into four parts as four fourths, while one portion of it is just one fourth.)

To give your students a quick review of shape properties, check out's easy-to-follow video lessons on geometric shapes.

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