Math Workstations for Back to School

Back to school math workstations have an important role in the math workshop structure.  We want to simultaneously train our students on procedures and routines while also providing meaningful math practice.  This post will address which math workstations are best for back to school for grades K-5.

Math Workstations For Back to School

All of our resources are standards-aligned.  With a grade level span of K-5, we have vertical alignment throughout our math workstations. I mention this because our math station recommendations for back to school may surprise you. We recommend beginning workstations be a unit of workstations containing prerequisite skills for each grade level.  The research informs us that workstations provide authentic math applications toward refining skills, math fluency, and accuracy.  This is done when the content in the math workstations is previously learned material.  During the first weeks of school, students take in all new routines, procedures, and class dynamics.  The content for our math workstations should support students by reminding them of the material from the previous grade level.  That material leads up to the new learning beginning to unfold with you.

Math Workstations for Back To School

We cover a wide grade level span for back-to-school math workstations, you can click down to the grade levels of interest below to find the most meaningful information.  This is the easiest way to organize the recommendations.

Kindergarten Math Workstations for Back to School

We recommend a heavy focus on number sense with counting skills for our Kindergarten friends.  This Counting Skills unit comes from our pre-K Stations by Standard but easily covers our beginning Kindergarten standards!  Once students have had time to explore math manipulatives, we can introduce how we use them to count, make sets, and model numbers.

Math workstations for Kindergarten back to schoolMath workstations for back to school

First Grade Math Workstations for Back to School

First grade has a foundation of skills from Kindergarten, so we recommend two different Number Sense units, Numbers 0-10 and Numbers 11-20.  Depending on your class, you can choose one or both to best fit your budding little firsties.  These units allow students to engage in beginning math workstations for content confidently.

math workstations first gradeMath workstations for first grade back to school

Second Grade Math Workstations for Back to School

It’s no surprise that we want to provide place value prerequisite skills for our big second graders at the beginning of the year. By allowing students to play with their previously learned range (up to 100 or 120) of place value skills, they are shining up that schema while those cognitive cogs are turning and churning for new connections.  Confidence is key for lowering anxiety and making math fun.

place value work stationsworkstations for second grade back to school

Third Grade Math Workstations for Back to School

In my opinion, third graders take a GIANT learning leap.  For this reason, I believe in providing opportunities for students to practice and refine previously learned skills.  This allows students to connect their learning to more difficult math processes confidently.  For third grade back-to-school math workstations, we recommend reviewing addition and subtraction skills during workstations launch.

third grade back to school reviewthird grade workstations back to school

Fourth Grade Math Workstations for Back to School

Fourth grade presents a valuable set of math standards dependent on previously learned math concepts.  Many of those skills require a solid foundation of place value concepts. For this reason, our back-to-school math workstation recommendation is place value.  Students have a chance to recognize number values, round numbers, order numbers, and identify number forms as they ease into workstation routines.

fourth grade math workstations


Fifth Grade Math Workstations for Back to School

Like fourth grade in reasoning, we recommend place value skills as the foundational review before introducing new learning.  So many valuable skills like adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing using place value, are accessed through this place value practice.  These valuable skills provide a solid start for fifth grade content.

5th grade math workstations back to school fourth grade back to school workstations

Stations By Standard Bundles by Grade Level

Because they care vertically aligned pre-K to 5th grade, Stations by Standard makes differentiating easy.  You’ll only find the grade level listed in the teacher documents, such as unit covers and standards alignment tools.  The stations do not show any grade level, so students can work at their level without any indication that they may be working above or toward a certain standard in relation to their peers.  Find the entire line of Stations by Standard bundles HERE or click the picture below.

stations by standard bundles

How To Launch Guided Math

The first four weeks of Guided Math, or math workshop, differ from the rest of the school year.  For this reason, I put together a free Launch Guide.  This step-by-step free resource can provide structure for introducing back-to-school workstations for Guided Math.

How to Launch Guided Math

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