What Do 2nd Graders Learn?
For many kids, 2nd grade marks the beginning of being one of the "big kids" in the school. No longer the youngest or just out of kindergarten, 2nd graders are used to their school environment and ready to take on some serious learning. Your child's attention span is increasing, which means he's able to learn more difficult concepts in one setting and apply them to other situations. What kids learn in 2nd grade isn't always the same from school to school, but there are some commonalities.
In math this year, your 2nd grader will continue to explore the logic of numbers, but will start to learn that all the number facts are related in a systematic way. While kindergarten and first grade focused on learning to recognize numbers and numerals, second grade begins to work with those numbers in real world applications.
This year your child will delve further into place value, learning to add and subtract using regrouping. He will explore basic fractions to learn how they relate to a whole and practice "skip counting" as a precursor to learning multiplication tables. Other skills taught include: basic money sense, units of measure and how those units relate to each other (inches make feet, feet make yards, etc.) and how to use a thermometer in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.
Second grade is a pivotal year in reading. This year students are challenged to become more fluent readers, moving beyond using decoding skills to figure out unfamiliar words and use context clues instead. Expect to hear retellings of the stories your child has read, as he practices summarizing accurately. By the end of the year, your child will have a strong grasp of suffixes and prefixes, using them to decipher the meaning of words he doesn't know. Other reading skills worked in second grade include: outcome prediction, self-correction and using a dictionary.
By the end of first grade, your child has mastered the ability to write a coherent sentence to convey meaning. Now he will work to put a number of different types of sentences (interrogatory, statements and exclamations) together to create a descriptive piece of writing. The phrase he will probably hear most from his teacher this year is "Tell me more about that," as he begins to develop and use a more extensive vocabulary of verbs and learns how to use adjectives to bring depth to pieces of writing.
Science curriculum varies a great deal in 2nd grade. Some schools spend a lot of time learning about life cycles, while others have covered that in first grade. If your child learns about life cycles this year, he's likely to focus on observable creatures like butterflies and tadpoles.
This year too, he will spend time learning about the body, both how to take care of his own in an basic introduction to health, and about the bones, muscles and organs and their functions. Other topics explored include: the role of the Earth's orbit in seasonal change, the solar system and weather prediction using different types of clouds.
Social studies in 2nd grade is often a continuation of kindergarten and first grade, looking at neighborhood, community and families. This year, many teachers will take the opportunity to expand (or shrink, depending on how you look at it) the definition of community to include the classroom. This naturally leads to teaching about the need for rules in society and a comparison of different types of communities. As closer friendships begin to form and, therefore, exclude, it's a good year to begin learning about conflict resolution, on both a global and local scale.