How to use math to teach first graders to share

Four ways to teach sharing with math.

By GreatSchools Staff

“That’s not fair!” As the parent of a first-grader, you probably hear a lot of arguments about sharing, whether it’s how many cookies each kid gets at snack time or who gets the next turn on the swing. The good news? Teaching kids to share can be a great way to help them with math skills like counting and telling time.

Here are a few ways to keep it fair and build math skills:

Count it out

Math lesson: Counting
The problem: Kids are unhappy about having to wait for their turn.
The solution: Ask the kids who are waiting to count to, say, 60 (for a minute) or 100. When they are done, it’s time for the next child to have a turn.

Time it

Math lesson: Telling time
The problem: Same as above — kids are unhappy about waiting for a turn.
The solution: Instead of counting, give kids a watch, or have them look at a clock, and announce when one minute is up (or however much time everyone’s decided each child gets).

Split it up

Math lesson: Fractions
The problem: Kids are fighting over toys, like blocks or Legos.
The solution: Divide the toys into equal piles. If there are 10 blocks, divide them up into two piles of five (or have the kids divide the toys themselves). Explain that you are dividing the piles evenly. Have the kids count the toys in each pile.

Guess it

Math lesson: Understanding numbers
The problem: Kids are arguing over who gets to go first in a game.
The solution: Think of a number between 1 and 10 and ask them to guess the number. Once everyone guesses, tell them the number, and then have them figure out which of them is closest. Whoever guesses the closest number gets to go first.