May Essential Math Curriculum Goals

As May approaches, elementary math educators find themselves in a pivotal position to consolidate key mathematical concepts before students progress to the next grade level. With the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) guiding instruction, it’s crucial to leverage the remaining weeks of the school year effectively. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of three May Essential Math objectives for each grade level, from Kindergarten through 5th Grade, to prioritize during the month of May:


  • Number Recognition and Counting (K.CC.A): Reinforce number recognition from 0 to 20 and beyond, emphasizing one-to-one correspondence. Utilize interactive games, counting songs, and manipulatives to solidify counting skills and understanding of quantity.
  • Counting and Cardinality (K.CC.B): Introduce and practice basic addition and subtraction within 10. Employ hands-on activities like counting objects, number bonds, and number stories to build foundational skills in arithmetic.
  • Geometry (K.G.A): Introduce basic 2D and 3D shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, cubes, and spheres. Encourage students to identify and describe shapes in their environment, fostering spatial awareness.

1st Grade:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking (1.OA.A): Develop fluency in addition and subtraction within 20. Emphasize strategies such as using doubles, making ten, and understanding the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Math Games and Activities
  • Measurement and Data (1.MD.A): Introduce concepts of length, weight, and capacity using standard and non-standard units of measurement. Engage students in measuring and comparing objects, recording data, and interpreting simple graphs.
  • Geometry (1.G.A): Explore attributes of shapes including sides, corners, and symmetry. Sort and classify shapes based on their properties, and introduce concepts of congruence and similarity.

2nd Grade:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking (2.OA.B): Build fluency in adding and subtracting within 100 using strategies such as mental math, place value, and properties of operations. Introduce concepts of multiplication and division through equal groups and arrays.
  • Measurement and Data (2.MD.A): Extend understanding of measurement to include length, mass, volume, time, and money. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of lengths, intervals of time, and money amounts.
  • Geometry (2.G.A): Identify and describe shapes based on their attributes, including the number of sides and vertices. Explore relationships between shapes and their properties, such as partitioning shapes into equal parts.

3rd Grade:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking (3.OA.A): Develop fluency in multiplication and division within 100, including strategies such as using multiplication and division facts, properties of operations, and the relationship between multiplication and division.
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten (3.NBT.A): Expand understanding of place value to include numbers up to 1,000. Represent and solve addition and subtraction problems involving three-digit numbers using various strategies.
  • Measurement and Data (3.MD.B): Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects. Represent and interpret data using line plots, picture graphs, and bar graphs.

4th Grade:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking (4.OA.A): Extend understanding of multiplication and division to include multi-digit numbers. Solve multi-step word problems involving all four operations and interpret remainders.
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten (4.NBT.B): Generalize place value understanding for multi-digit whole numbers up to 1,000,000. Perform operations with multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm.
  • Fractions (4.NF.A): Develop understanding of equivalent fractions and compare fractions with different numerators and denominators. Add and subtract fractions with like denominators and solve word problems involving fraction operations.

5th Grade:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking (5.OA.A): Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions and evaluate expressions with parentheses. Generate and analyze patterns and relationships, including those represented in tables and graphs.
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten (5.NBT.A): Understand the place value system for decimals, including decimal fractions, and compare decimal values. Perform operations with multi-digit whole numbers and decimals to hundredths.
  • Measurement and Data (5.MD.C): Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system and solve problems involving measurement conversions. Represent and interpret data using line plots and coordinate grids.
Math Vocabulary Matters

By aligning May Essential Math instruction with these Common Core-based math objectives, elementary teachers can ensure that students master May essential Math concepts before advancing to the next grade level. Maximizing instructional time in May fosters mathematical proficiency and sets a strong foundation for continued success in mathematics and beyond.

Happy Teaching

Let’s Teach! Lori


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