Ready for School: Second grade math & science milestones

4 ways to tell if your child is ready for second-grade math and science.

Learning Stages

By Clement Chau, Ph.D.

LeapFrog Learning Expert

As the children and media expert on the Learning Team, Clement primarily works on toys and digital products related to social studies, creativity, life skills and early childhood development. Before joining LeapFrog, he was an early education consultant, a media literacy researcher at the MIT Comparative Media Studies department, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, and a researcher and lecturer at the Tufts University Developmental Technologies Research Group. Clement received his PhD from Tufts University's Eliot Pearson Department of Child Development and completed his dissertation on evaluating children's mobile apps.

Second grade is a time to consolidate and perfect new skills. At this age, kids may turn inward and even seem to doubt themselves ("I can’t do anything right!”), which is natural and developmentally appropriate. However, they also love to have fun, laugh and act silly.

To understand whether your child is ready for the challenges of second-grade math and science, assess how your child compares to the following statements in 4 key areas.

Numbers & equations

  • I am becoming confident and efficient with numbers and equations. I like flash cards with math problems on them. I also like doing math problems out loud in class. I am understanding the basic rules of math and how to apply them.

Experimentation and problem solving

  • I enjoy experimenting and testing ideas.
  • I can solve problems using the mathematics and science concepts I learned in first grade.
  • I am beginning to understand the properties of objects and matter. I know that if you change the way something looks, like flattening a ball of clay, there is still the same amount of clay there—it just looks different. If you rearrange the fruit in the fruit basket, without taking any of the fruit out or putting any more in, there is still the same amount of fruit even if it looks fuller or emptier.
  • I can take my experience and what I know about one thing and apply it to another. I learn rules this way. For example, I know that if Sam wears the same size shoes as Jack and Jack wears the same size shoes as Larry, then Larry can wear Sam’s shoes.

Tables & graphs

  • I can summarize data using basic charts. I can organize, represent and interpret data using up to three categories.

Time & money skills

  • I can tell what time it is by looking at the clock.
  • I know a few things about time: how many hours in a day, minutes in an hour, and that time keeps on going the same every day.