Grade 1 Overview: Paving the Way to 100

     Kindergarten students briefly touch on numbers beyond 20, and then in Grade 1 they expand their knowledge much farther to 120. First, they work on building fluency with addition and subtraction within 10 in exercises with and without visual representations. Then they learn how to add or subtract beyond 10, extending their skills step-by-step to the operations within 20, within 40, and within 100. On that road, students get their first experience with place value which also helps them to compare numbers and prepares them for Column Addition (the standard algorithm for addition) in Grade 2. Students also acquire initial skills in Measurement, including comparison of length, and Geometry with a focus on attributes of shapes. 

     To develop skills Happy Numbers presents a wide range of visual models that help students reach learning milestones. They complete numerical exercises first using familiar objects such as candies, then move to more abstract models such as the Ten Frame and Base-10 Blocks. The high-level tasks include equations, in which students find sums, differences, or missing addends.

     In this overview, you’ll find the best pedagogy and important milestones from the Happy Numbers curriculum for Grade 1 students.

     All exercises mentioned below are part of the Happy Numbers course for Grade 1. Visit to explore our full curriculum and sign up for a free trial.

Addition and Subtraction Basics

     In Module 1, Students consolidate  knowledge obtained in Kindergarten. First of all, they start systematically using the +, - , and = signs.

     Students solve addition and subtraction equations within 10 first supported by models.


     Gradually developing their skills, students move to purely numerical problems. For students who need more support, Happy Numbers continue providing the model of visualization. The following example illustrates the support provided in case of an incorrect answer to the number bond problem.   

To see the full exercise, follow this link.

     Happy Numbers designed Module 1 of the Grade 1 curriculum so that students get an intensive course including the concepts of addition and subtraction, building math description by matching concrete objects with abstract models, and translating those scenarios to equations. 
The simultaneous use of representations that have different levels of abstraction makes it possible to transition smoothly to higher math levels. Students get a number of exercises on composing equations to match situations. Some of them are animated, for example:


     Students develop fluency in addition to 10. An important contribution to fluency is the commutative property:
 and systematic practice:

To see the full exercise, follow this link.

Between 10 and 20. The Place Value.

     In Module 2, students grasp the concept of place value through clear visual examples that use the Ten Frame as well as Base-10 Blocks. 

To see the full exercise, follow the link.

     Grouping objects in groups of ten and initialized understanding of place values lead to the first strategy of addition within 20, which in its turn helps evolving fluency.

To see the full exercise, follow this link.

Measuring Lengths. Working with Data.

     In Module 3, Happy Numbers reminds students how to determine the shortest or the longest object visually. They practice this with aligned and unaligned objects

To see the full exercise, follow this link.

     After this reminder, Happy Numbers introduces the process of length measurement by laying unit length objects from endpoint to end endpoint. This results in a numerical value of the length (in length units).


To see the full exercise, follow this link.

      In Module 3, Happy Numbers also introduces students to tally marks, tables, and bar graphs as means for representing and interpreting data. After necessary introductions, students are able to read the data from bar graphs, for example, determining the number of kites of certain color, as well as the color represented by the smallest number of kites:
To see the full exercise, follow this link.

Place Value. Extending Addition and Subtraction to Numbers to 40.

     Building on the understanding of the place value developed earlier, Happy Numbers moves further and introduces two-digit numbers and their addition within 40 in Module 4. The main means of visualization supporting students' understanding are Base-10 Blocks. In the Base-10 Blocks model, rods show tens and loose cubes show ones, so the model clearly represents numbers to 100:

 To see the full exercise, follow this link.

     Alternative visualization of Ten Frames:

 To see the full exercise, follow this link.

     This way students also master the unit form of a number, which is important to grasp for working with three-digit numbers in the next grade.  
     Happy Numbers employs yet another visualization of two-digit numbers - the Hundred Chart. Learn more in our featured video about Number Sense with the Hundred Chart.


     Happy Numbers offers a game-like exercise based on the model of the Hundred Chart, in which Bunny needs to make a path to his den. Students will enjoy using their new knowledge in this engaging task!


     Another important skill students develop in Module 4 is representing two-digit numbers as a sum of tens and ones, which is the first and important step to mastering the expanded form of numbers in the next grade.

To see the full exercise, follow this link.

Dive into Comparison

     With the powerful concept of place value and the visualization of two-digit numbers, students are ready for mastering important skills, the first of them being the comparison of two-digit numbers. Happy Numbers starts off this topic by introducing comparison symbols:


To see the full exercise, follow this link.

     Happy Numbers gives students various exercises for practicing comparison of numbers. For example, in the following  exercise they use numerical notation, a visual model of Base-10 Blocks, and the comparison sign all together.
To see the full exercise, follow the link.

Addition and Subtraction from 20 to 40

     With an understanding of place value and the visualization of two-digit numbers, students move forward in addition to two-digit numbers. Happy Numbers starts off this topic with the addition of one-digit to two-digit numbers when there is no regrouping:

     Similarly students are introduced to addition of tens to a two-digit number without regrouping, like in 17 + 20, and finally they master addition of two two-digit numbers: 

     Students then progress to more abstract math with Place Value Cards. Happy Numbers shows how a two-digit number can be split into tens and ones to be added separately. Also important, this topic introduces working with sums of ones above 10. This exercise gradually prepares students for the standard algorithm of Column Addition, which they will study in the next grade.

To see the full exercise, follow this link

Identifying, Composing, and Partitioning Shapes

     In Module 5, Happy Numbers introduces students to basic attributes of shapes, and types of polygons, like triangles, squares, etc. This ends up in a game-like exercise where students demonstrate the developed skill of identifying shapes:

To see the full exercise, follow the link.

     Happy Numbers also makes sure that students recognize math shapes in everyday objects:


To see the full exercise, follow the link.

Halves and Quarter. Their Application to Tell Time.

     From a number of Happy Numbers exercises student learn to identify halves and quarters of circles and rectangles, for example:

To see the full exercise, follow the link.

     This is the first step on the road to mastery in fractions. 


To see the full exercise, follow the link.

Numbers to 120. Addition and Subtraction to 100.

     In Module 6 Happy Numbers introduces students to an extended set of numbers and addition / subtraction continued to 100. Numbers are larger but the procedure remains unchanged which allows students to fully master them in a new range.

     Students identify the number of objects grouped in tens and less than 10 loose objects  

     Looks very familiar, doesn't it?

     Base 10 Blocks logically brings students to the hundred and numbers beyond 100: 

 To see the full exercise, follow this link.

     Similarly the Base 10 Blocks gradually result in extending students’ addition and subtraction skills to the number range of 100, for example:


To see the full exercise, follow the link

Learn the Ropes First

     In Grade 2, students will study numbers up to 1000, work extensively with Place Value, and develop mental strategies for addition and subtraction. Therefore, in Grade 1 they do important preparation activities such as: practicing operations with numbers up to 120, developing fluency with addition and subtraction, getting to know round numbers, and comparing numbers. 
     In Happy Numbers, a lot of attention is paid to building conceptual understanding of basic math procedures, as it should become a strong foundation for students’ future education. There are plenty of interactive visual representations, which can both help to display an equation and become a flexible instrument for solving a task. Students gain the skill of working with spatial exercises, which will be very helpful when geometry starts.

     Provide your class with a comprehensive and engaging math curriculum that improves academic performance and gives each student an opportunity to attain readiness! Happy Numbers gladly delivers detailed data about your class and suggests curriculum changes corresponding to the best educational practices. Stay tuned!

How can you enhance your instruction with Happy Numbers?

     It’s incredibly easy to bring Happy Numbers to your class, and you can do so at any point in the school year. Sign up now or watch a 1-minute video that will guide you through the setup:

   If you have any additional questions, our support team is always here to assist you. Click the blue messenger icon on the bottom right corner of this page to start a conversation with them.

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