Second Grade

Educators in the Sioux City Community School District provide security and structure for second-grade students. Through discovery and hands-on learning, students deeply engage in the curriculum. Lessons are not only academically stimulating; they are fun. During these early years, students find a love for life-long learning.

This webpage provides an overview of what your child will learn by the end of second grade, as directed by the Iowa Core, our statewide academic standards. The Iowa Core standards focus on key concepts in mathematics, literacy, science, social studies, and 21st Century skills.


One of the most important outcomes for the year is to add and subtract two-digit numbers efficiently and accurately (e.g., 77 – 28). Another important goal is to understand what the digits mean in a three-digit number, such as 463 (namely, 463 is four hundreds, six tens, and three ones). Your child will continue to build expertise in, and master, solving addition and subtraction word problems. This is important for the next year, when the study of multiplication, division, and fractions begins.

Examples of Your Child’s Work at School:

  • Solve challenging addition and subtraction word problems with one or two steps that involve adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing by using drawings and equations. (e.g., a “one-step” problem: “Lucy has 23 fewer apples than Julie. Julie has 47 apples. How many apples does Lucy have?”)

  • Efficiently add with a sum of 20 or less (e.g., 11 + 8); efficiently subtract from 20 or less (e.g., 16 – 9); and memorize and recall all sums of one-digit numbers by the end of the year.

  • Understand what the digits mean in three-digit numbers (place value).

  • Show understanding of place value to add and subtract three-digit numbers (e.g., 811 – 367); quickly add and subtract two-digit numbers (e.g., 77 – 28).

  • Measure and estimate length in standard units.

  • Recognize, draw, and analyze 2-D and 3-D shapes to develop foundations for the area, volume, and geometry in later grades.

Math Resources for Parents

English Language Arts & Literacy

Students will gain more skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They continue to learn and practice rules for matching sounds to letters that make up words, and they learn new concepts, such as words that share the same root (e.g., add and additional) to help them figure out the meanings of new words. Your child will use writing as a way to demonstrate newly learned words and phrases to express ideas. As students write and speak, they will be more attentive to the formal and informal uses of English and will spell most words correctly in their writing.

Examples of Your Child’s Work at School:

  • Pay close attention to details, including illustrations and graphics, in stories and books to answer who, what, where, when, why, and how questions.

  • Determine the lesson or moral of stories, fables, and folktales.

  • Write an opinion about a book he or she has read by using important details from the materials to support that opinion.

  • Write stories that include a short sequence of events and a clear beginning, middle, and ending.

  • Participate in research projects (e.g., read books about a single topic to produce a report).

  • Take part in conversations by connecting his or her comments to the remarks of others and asking and answering questions to gather additional information or to deepen understanding of the topic.


Learners grow in their ability to understand larger systems and the parts that make them up. They begin to formulate answers to questions such as “How are materials similar and different from one another? How do the properties of the materials relate to their use? What do plants need to grow?” Investigations of how parts relate to the whole provide a key basis for understanding systems in later grades. Second grade students will record observations and data, will use a variety of informational texts to gather information, and will engage in scientific thinking as they begin to understand larger systems and the parts that make up the systems.

Examples of Your Child’s Work at School:

  • Conduct investigations to classify materials based on similar properties and functions.

  • Test different materials to collect and then analyze data to determine which materials are the best for a specific function.

  • Investigate how the environment in which the plants and animals live help provide the food, water, and shelter the organisms need to survive.

  • Use information to model the features of Earth’s surface and begin to answer the questions “how does land change and what are things that cause it to change?”

Social Studies

In second grade, students will learn about choices and consequences. They will engage in thinking and conversing about their own responsibility to take care of their community, focusing on cooperation and citizenship. They will also learn about how the government plays a role in establishing and maintaining local community spaces.

Examples of Your Child’s Work at School:

  • Evaluate choices and consequences for spending and saving.

  • Use maps, globes, and photos to analyze how environmental characteristics impact the location of a particular place.

  • Explain how people work through conflict when solving a community problem.

  • Distinguish between a primary and secondary source.

  • Determine the influence of individuals and groups who have shaped historical change.

  • Discuss and take action to address local and/or regional problems.

21st Century Skills

Your child will participate in activities that teach how good hygiene, healthy food choices, and adequate rest help him or her feel good and be ready to learn. Students will learn how to use technology in all curricular areas to communicate and appropriately work with others. They will practice work habits and social skills that will help them become successful students. Students will receive real-world experiences through visits from community members and parents who represent various professions, and then participate in age-appropriate activities that are related to the visits.

Examples of Your Child’s Work at School:

  • Compare positive and negative health and safety practices.

  • Give examples of personal rights and responsibilities as members in a classroom.

  • Use technology to illustrate and communicate ideas related to class projects.

  • Follow steps or processes to complete increasingly complex tasks.

  • Understand the concepts of spending and saving money and why both are important.

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).
Read the complete standards on the Iowa Core website.