Mathematics Awareness Month - First Grade

Why is April celebrated as Mathematics Awareness Month? Mathematics is an important driver of innovation in our technological world. It plays a significant role in addressing many real-world problems, including internet security, sustainability, disease, climate change and much more.

This April, Florida is focusing on the progression of algebraic thinking from elementary through high school. Algebraic thinking encourages students to not only solve problems, but also to understand the relationships between numbers, operational symbols and letters. Each Monday in April, Florida Students Achieve will highlight an algebraic thinking standard starting with this post about first grade. Next Monday, the post will introduce a third grade algebraic thinking standard, and then the following Mondays will feature a fifth, seventh and Algebra 1 standard. In each of these posts, you will find a focus standard, as well as examples and resources to develop your child’s procedural skill and application of algebraic thinking.

Focus Standard

Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number.


Notice and Wonder, Daisies in Vases

Show your child the picture of the daisies in the vases. Ask your child, “What do you notice?” Your child might say:

  • There are flowers and vases.
  • The vases have a different number of flowers.
  • The flowers are all the same and the vases are different.


Then ask your child, “What do you wonder?” Maybe your child will say:

  • Why are the vases different sizes?
  • Who are the flowers for?
  • Why are there a different number of flowers in the vases?


When children notice and wonder about a problem they tap into their curiosity and begin thinking algebraically. After having an opportunity to notice and wonder, provide the following problem:

Jasmine has eight daisies and three vases: one large, one medium and one small. She puts 5 daisies in the large vase, 2 in the medium vase and 1 in the small vase. Can you find another way to put the daisies in the vases, so there are the most in the large vase and the least in the small vase? Draw a picture and write an equation to show your thinking.

Mission Addition Word Problems

Have your child notice and wonder about the picture above. Then, see if they can create and solve their own word problem based on the picture. They may notice the three different colored buses or the different shirts. Use #FLMathAware to post your child’s word problem and solution on Twitter.


Florida Students is a website designed with students in mind. It is an interactive site that provides educational resources aligned to the Florida Standards. The link above will take you directly to the resources aligned to the first grade mathematics standards. The Daisies in Vases and Mission Addition activities can be found on this site.

The Florida Department of Education has additional elementary mathematics resources that may be helpful as you develop algebraic thinking with your child. On this site, you will find a page with the elementary standards progression and instructional toolkits for each grade level. Both of these resources will help your child progress their algebraic thinking.


Look for the third grade standard on algebraic thinking next week, followed by fifth grade, seventh grade, and concluding with algebra!