First Grade

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Empowered Learner
kids writing math problems on the board


Math Playground provides grade-level appropriate activities for math operations and algebraic thinking with a variety of activities to engage students and strengthen their skills. It can be used grades one-six. 

Students will:

  • Be able to represent and solve problems with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Be able to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Addition: Addition is the process or skill of calculating the total of two or more numbers or amounts.

  2. Subtraction: Subtraction is the process or skill of taking one number or amount away from another.

  3. Multiplication: Multiplication is the process or skill of multiplying.

  4. Division: Division is the distribution of something separated into parts.

To prepare for this lesson:

  1. The teacher should preview the games that are best suited for the student’s needs on Math Playground
  2. Watch How to navigate Math Playground
  3. Check out the Common Core Operations and Algebraic Thinking for your grade level. 

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. The teacher provides the students with the Math Playground link.

  2. Direct the student to the appropriate grade level in the colored square at the top of the page.

  3. Scroll down to Operations and Algebraic Thinking.

  4. Direct the student to the desired game. An alternative would be to provide a link for the student in a Learning Management System like Google Classroom.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Math Talks connected to the topic
  • Exit Tickets
  • Teacher created assessment

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Empowered Learner
1a. Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
1b. Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.
1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
1d. Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:

Common Core Operations

How to Navigate Math Playground 

Math Playground


Write about activity in a journal.

Draw a picture of the activity.

Create math equations connected to the activity.

This task card was created by Julie Hoehing, Lake Shore Public Schools, April 2020.