With the Common Core State Standards, children are learning new concepts and strategies in the classroom. That means parents are learning them too. We’re here to help.

We’ve worked with parents and teachers to identify the new concepts in Math and English Language Arts (ELA) that parents are struggling with the most. So search by grade or by topic, browse through instructional videos or get one-on-one help from a trained teacher. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and support you need to help your children with their homework assignments.

## Homework Help

Have a question about your child’s homework? We’ve aggregated frequently asked questions by grade and by subject. You can read more about a specific concept or watch a quick video that explains it in more detail. If your question isn’t answered below or you want to dig deeper, try asking a specific question to one of our trained teachers.

### What are Addition / Subtraction stories?

These emphasize how subtraction or addition is represented in real life. Think of a story in real life that could reflect an addition or subtraction problem. The student should be able to turn the story into an equation. They show the story with objects (concrete), draw a picture (pictorial), and write the number sentence (abstract).

### What are counters?

Math counters are any small objects that children can count or move around to help them work out simple math problems. In the lower primary grades, great emphasis is placed on developing number sense and understanding using concrete objects. Students build numbers and represent and show amounts using concrete objects. Then they move to pictorial representations and mathematical equations.

### What are number bonds?

They show the relationship between addition and subtraction. It is made up of three or more components, “the whole” and two or more parts. The parts must add up to the whole.

### What are number partners?

They are similar to a fact family. When a number is shown as two numbers that are added together to make a third. For example, 2 and 3 are number partners of 5. Students can learn the facts associated with these numbers: 2+3=5, 3+2=5, 5-3=2, 5-2=3

### What is “taking apart”

Taking apart numbers, also known as decomposing a number, is breaking down a number (like 10) to two numbers when added together that make that number (like 7 + 3).

### What is an array?

An array is a rectangular arrangement of a set of objects organized into rows and columns. Using arrays to teach counting helps with addition and subtraction and to lay the groundwork in future grades for a better understanding of multiplication. It also helps with grouping numbers and seeing numbers as sets.

Tags: Kindergarten Counting and Number Patterns

### What is a ten frame?

A ten frame is a graphic tool that helps students to see numbers, keep track of counting, and learn addition to ten. It is a rectangle broken into ten units with dots in ten or fewer of the boxes. It is a pictorial representation of numbers and helps young students develop number sense and concepts of amount.

Tags: Kindergarten Counting and Number Patterns

### What is the difference between a flat and a solid?

Something that is flat is two-dimensional (length and height), something that is a solid is three-dimensional (length, height, width)

Tags: Kindergarten Geometry

### What is a doubles plus one?

The doubles plus one are the facts in which one addend is larger than the other by one. Examples include 3+4=7, 6+7=13, 5+6=11, 3+2=5. Learning your doubles plus one should involve knowing the doubles and mentally adding the additional one. This helps students to begin to see the relationships between numbers, not simply memorizing abstract facts.

### What is a fact family?

A fact family generally consists of three numbers, two of which add up to the third. It is a way to show that addition and subtraction of a particular set of three numbers is related. Fact families help students build a conceptual understanding of how addition and subtraction are related. This also helps develop fluency with basic facts.

### What does it mean to use “known equivalent sums”?

This is a method students can use as part of mental math. Students quickly turn an equation into two numbers they know the sum or difference of. Using known facts makes solving unknown facts easier. For example, if I know that 7 + 7 = 14, I can then mentally compute 7 + 8 as 7 + 7 = 14, plus one more is 15.

### What does it mean to “look for 10”?

Looking for 10 is an important strategy to solve unknown addition and subtraction problems within 20 — for example 8 + 7 is the same as 8 + 2 + 5 = 10 + 5 = 15.

### Is it OK for my child to use on his/her fingers to count?

Students are expected to have fluency with addition and subtraction to 20. The end of 1st Grade requires mastery of facts through 10. The emphasis goes deeper than memorizing math facts–students need to know and use a variety of strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems to 20. Counting on one’s fingers is an accepted method as is counting other physical objects.

### What are base ten blocks?

Students use base ten blocks to better understand place value. As you work with your child through base 10 blocks, reinforce the ones, tens and hundreds places. Building numbers with these concrete blocks helps them to understand the value of each place. For example, 342 is not 3 and 4 and 2, but rather 3 hundreds and 4 tens and 2 ones.

Tags: 1st Grade Counting and Number Patterns

### What is the purpose of a number line?

A number line helps students understand the concept of a number as well as what it means to add or subtract. It is a simple way to represent all real numbers in one model. Think of a ruler or a thermometer.

Tags: 1st Grade Counting and Number Patterns

### Why do some number lines have no numbers on them?

A number line with no numbers or markers is called an empty number line. Such a number line can be useful for students when they need a visual representation for recording and sharing their strategies.

Tags: 1st Grade Counting and Number Patterns

### What is a place value chart?

A place value chart is a table that allows students to separate the digits in a number by place value. For example, the number 43 really means 4 tens and 3 ones.

### What is an array?

An array is an arrangement of a set of objects organized into equal groups in rows and columns. Using arrays to teach counting helps with addition and subtraction and to lay the groundwork for a better understanding of multiplication.

### What does it mean to decompose a number?

When students decompose a number, they are breaking a number into smaller parts. So if you were to decompose 21, you could decompose it into 1 ten and 11 ones, or 21 ones. This leads to a natural progression to using a decomposing strategy to subtract double-digit numbers.

### What are number bonds?

A number bond is the relationship between a number and the parts that combine to make it. The concept of number bonds is an important foundation for understanding how numbers work. A whole is made up of parts. If you know the parts, you can put them together (add) to find the whole. If you know the whole and one of the parts, you take away the part you know (subtract) to find the other part.

### What is regrouping in addition?

The term regrouping is used in place of “carrying” in addition. It is a more accurate description of the mathematical concept. It’s more appropriate to say we’re regrouping it by exchanging those ten ones into one ten.

### What is regrouping in subtraction?

The term regrouping is used in place of “borrowing” in subtraction. The term regrouping allows us to be more accurate in explaining what is happening as we move values from the tens place to the ones place. We are not just borrowing from the tens place, we are regrouping that ten by exchanging it for 10 ones.

### What is a frame and arrow problem?

These diagrams show sequences of numbers – numbers that follow one after the other according to a rule. These diagrams are made up of shapes called frames and arrows that connect the frames. Each frame contains one of the numbers in the sequence. Each arrow stands for a rule that tells which number goes in the next frame. Students learn to apply the rules to each frame.

Tags: 2nd Grade Counting and Number Patterns

### What is an input output table?

An input output table is where students apply a rule to an initial number (input) to create a sum or difference (output). This helps students to recognize patterns. It is very similar to a frame and arrow problem.

Tags: 2nd Grade Counting and Number Patterns

### What is skip counting?

Skip counting is also called counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc. Skip counting helps with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Often students are encouraged to look for patterns as they skip count, e.g. are all the numbers odd, even, etc.

Tags: 2nd Grade Counting and Number Patterns

### What is a bar graph or picture graph?

A picture graph uses symbols and pictures to represent data. As students gain experience in working with numbers, learning how to represent information in a bar or picture graph aids them in comparing this data.

Tags: 2nd Grade Data and Graphs

### What is the rule for parentheses?

Parentheses are used to indicate parts of the problem that should be evaluated first.

### How do you solve for an unknown variable?

As students gain mathematic skills, they will begin to practice solving equations. An equation with an unknown variable is one that has a number missing, and you have to figure out what that number is. The missing number is called a variable, and you can represent it with any symbol.

### What is the best way to explain a fraction to a 3rd Grader?

You can think of fractions as “cut and copy”. If I have an amount and cut it into five equal parts, each part is 1/5. If were to copy that four times, I would have 4/5.

### What is the best way to explain a fraction?

A fraction is a portion of a whole. You can think of fractions as “cut and copy”. If I have an amount and cut it into five equal parts, each part is 1/5. If I were to copy that four times, I would have 4/5.

### What is the difference between a numerator and denominator?

The denominator (bottom number) represents the number of equal portions that the whole has been divided into and the numerator (top number) is the amount of the whole that is being considered. So if a pie is cut into four pieces and I ate one piece, the four pieces of the pie (or the whole pie) are the denominator and the one piece (or the piece I ate) is the numerator.

### How do you find the area of a rectangle using square units?

You can lay down squares to determine how many copies it will take to completely cover the rectangle with no overlaps. This formula says the measure of the area of a rectangle equals length times width connects nicely to the array multiplication model – you can see how to count the number of elements in an array by multiplying the number of rows by the number of columns.

### What does congruent mean?

Congruent figures are EXACTLY the same size and shape. Similar figures have the same shape, but are not the same size.

### What is grouping?

Grouping is the fundamental concept behind multiplication. In multiplication students are adding groups of numbers together. So 5 X 7 can also easily be seen as five groups with seven objects in each group.

Tags: 3rd Grade Multiplication / Division

### What is a stem and leaf plot?

A stem and leaf plot is a way to visually display numbers. The “stem” is the left-hand column that contains the tens place digits. The “leaves” are the lists in the right-hand columns and are the ones place digits.

Tags: 4th Grade Data and Graphs

### How do you decompose a fraction?

When you decompose a fraction, you are simply breaking it up into smaller fractions. A decomposed fraction will be represented as a sum of other fractions.

### How do I recognize equivalent fractions on a number line?

It is critical for students to be able to compare two fractions and understand which is bigger or smaller. Since a fraction is a number, a number line helps students to visualize the size of a fraction, thereby allowing students to begin to understand how to compare size.

### What is an area model?

Area models are similar to arrays. In a 2-digit by 2-digit computation, the area model breaks each number into parts based on place value resulting in calculating the areas of four rectangles. For example, 29*32 becomes (20+8)*(30+2). The “partial products” that result from the four areas align with the computations needed in the standard algorithm.

Tags: 4th Grade Multiplication / Division

### How is an array used in multiplication?

An array is a rectangular arrangement of a set of objects organized into rows and columns. The array model for multiplication with two digit numbers allows the student to imagine multiplying the numbers based on place value. This method will also be useful when the student gets to algebra.

Tags: 4th Grade Multiplication / Division

### How do you divide 3+ digit numbers?

Instead of just dividing and then multiplying, subtracting and then bringing down the “next” digit, the student brings down all the remaining digits in the number. This helps the students better understand how the number is being broken down through the division process.

Tags: 4th Grade Multiplication / Division

### What is lattice multiplication?

Lattice multiplication is a method of multiplying large numbers using a grid. The lattice method breaks the multiplication process into smaller steps, which some students find easier. Digits to be carried are written within the grid, making them harder to miss.

Tags: 4th Grade Multiplication / Division

### What is the difference between mean, median, mode, and range?

To find the mean, you add up all the numbers and then divide by the count of the summed numbers. The median is the middle value in a list of numbers. To find the median, your numbers have to be listed in numerical order. The mode is the value that occurs most often. If no number is repeated, then there is no mode for the list. The range is the difference between the largest and smallest values.

### What is the order of operations?

Operations indicate when to add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc. The order of operations helps you understand which part you should calculate first. If you calculate them in the wrong order, you get the wrong answer! The shorthand for the right order is PEMDAS: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiple, Divide, Add, Subtract

### What is a line plot?

A line plot shows data on a number line with x or other marks to show frequency. A 5th Grade student will use a line plot for fractions to help them understand the relative value of a fraction using a number line.

Tags: 5th Grade Data and Graphs

### What is place value?

Place value is the value of a digit depending on its position as a number. A digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it represents to its left.

### What is expanded form for decimals?

Expanded form for decimals shows the value of each digit as a decimal, or fractional part. As in .34 = .3 + .04. This helps students better understand the specific value of each digit.

### How do you use an area model when calculating fractions?

Notions of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division are no different whether I’m talking about fractions or other numbers. Areas are a nice way to see the operations visually.

### What is a benchmark fraction?

Benchmark fractions are common fractions that you can use to compare other numbers against. These fractions are commonly known fractions that serve as relevant reference points for measurement comparison. Common benchmark fractions include 1/3, 1/4, 1/2, 2/3 and 3/4.

### How do you use a protractor?

A protractor measures an angle.The protractor measures a ray coming from the vertex (the intersection of two lines resulting in a point). Protractors have two sets of numbers going in opposite directions. Before you measure using a protractor, estimate if it will be obtuse (larger than 90 degrees) or acute (less than 90 degrees). This will help you use the right set of numbers on your protractor.

### How do you calculate probability?

Probability is the likelihood that something will happen. Probability is equal to the number of outcomes in which the event can happen divided by the total number of outcomes.

### What are the different ways to divide fractions?

There are many procedural algorithms you can use to divide fractions. The traditional way divides numerators with numerators and denominators with denominators. The other way is find a common denominator. The third way is to cross multiply (keep, change, and flip).

### What is a complementary angle?

A complementary angle occurs when two angles add up to ninety degrees. A supplementary angle occurs when two angles add up to 180 degrees.

### What is an exponent?

The exponent of a number says how many times to use the number in multiplication. The exponent indicates multiplication of the base number by itself in accordance with the number of the exponent.

Tags: 6th Grade Multiplication / Division

### What is a factor?

When a number or expression is the result of multiplication, we would call the multiplied components “factors”. For example, 2 and 5 are factors of 10, while 3 and 5 are factors of 15. This tells us that 5 is the Greatest Common Factor of 10 and 15.

Tags: 6th Grade Multiplication / Division

### What is a ratio?

A ratio is a statement of how two numbers compare. It is a comparison of the size of one number to the size of another number. It can be written using a colon (3:1), as a fraction 3/1 or using the word “to” “3 to 1”.

### What are unit rates?

A unit rate is a ratio in which the two terms are written in different units and one of those units equals one.. People use rates every day, such as when they work 40 hours per ONE week or drive sixty miles per ONE hour.

### What is a box and whisker plot?

The box plot is a convenient way of graphically depicting groups of numerical data through their quartiles. Box plots may also have lines extending vertically from the boxes (whiskers) indicating variability outside the upper and lower quartiles, hence the terms box-and-whisker plot.

### How do you calculate the probability of compound events?

In the world of probability, compound events are probabilities of two or more things happening at once. One way to calculate this is through a tree diagram. A tree diagram allows students to visually see the range of possibilities.

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### What are interrogatives?

Interrogatives are question words – like who, what, where, when, why, how. These sentences end in question marks.

Tags: Kindergarten Grammar

### What are prepositions?

Prepositions indicate location in time or in place. They include to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with.

Tags: Kindergarten Grammar

### What is the proper sentence structure?

The most simple sentence has a subject, verb and direct object.

Tags: Kindergarten Grammar

### Is there a list of what different prefixes or suffixes mean?

Understanding the meaning of a prefix can help students understand the meaning of a word. In kindergarten, students should know that “un” often means not or that a suffix like “less” means without.

Tags: Kindergarten Grammar

### What is a determiner?

Determiners are important noun modifiers that contextualize the noun. They could be an article (a, an, the) or a quantifier (few, many) or a pronoun (her, his).

### What is an imperative sentence?

An imperative sentence is one that gives a command or an order. It is asking someone to do or not do something.

### What is an exclamatory sentence?

An exclamatory sentence makes a statement but also conveys excitement or emotion. They often end in an exclamation point.

### What is an indefinite pronoun?

An indefinite pronoun refers to a non-specific person or thing. They could be words like all, any, anyone, each, or everyone.

### Is there a good list of irregular plural nouns?

In English, usually simply adding an “s” to the end of the word transitions the word from singular to plural. But there are a number of nouns that are “irregular”.

### What is the difference between a simple and compound sentence?

A simple sentence has a single subject and predicate. A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses connected together with a coordinating conjunction.

### Is there a good list of the past tense of irregular verbs?

Most verbs transition from present to past tense with a simple “ed” at the end. But there are many exceptions to that rule.

### What is a compound word?

A compound word is a word that is made up of two or more other words, such as butterfly.

### What is a narrative?

It is a story and can be real or made up. Either way, it has a similar structure (setting, character, beginning, middle and end). Students often write narrative stories that are based on their own life — often referred to as “small moment” stories.

### What is an informational essay?

Informational writing gives facts about a non-fiction topic. It is important for students to not just list facts, but also add transitions. These will be sentences that help to introduce an idea or conclude an idea.

Close reading requires that students have in mind a specific purpose for which they are reading. They should understand the main idea of what they are reading and then look for important details that are tied to (support) that main idea. Identifying details from the text that support ideas is a key part of close reading.

An adjective modifies a noun (the blue house), an adverb modifies a verb or another adverb (he speaks slowly).

### What is the proper use of a colon?

You can use a colon to introduce a long direct quotation, a second clause that introduces the first, or to introduce a list of items.

### When do you use its vs. it’s?

“Its” is a possessive pronoun. “It’s” is a conjunction, short for it is. Encourage your child to read the sentence, substituting “it is” for it’s and see if it sounds correct. If it makes sense, then use the conjunction, it’s.

### When do you use a comma?

You use commas when separating phrases that don’t need to be there, when linking two clauses with a conjunction (and, but or, nor, or so), when you are addressing someone in particular, when making a list of three or more items, when you have more than one adjective modifying a noun or after introductory phrases or clauses.

### What is a good thesis statement?

A good thesis statement is one that is clear, expresses an opinion and can be supported by facts. It is at the beginning of an essay, and it tells the reader what the whole paper will be about. It clearly states the purpose of the essay.

### What is the difference between a simile and a metaphor?

Similes compare using words like “like” or “as”. A metaphor is a broader term that transfers the sense or aspects of one word to another.

### What is the perfect tense?

It is used to describe an action that has been completed, often focusing on the fact the action has been completed rather than the action itself. For example, “I had flown home a day early.”

### What is a homograph?

Homographs are two or more words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings and origins and may be pronounced differently.

### What is an argumentative essay?

An argument essay is one that persuades people to change their opinion. It must be based in evidence to support your claim, not just be based on your opinion.

### What are transitions?

Transitions signal to the reader that you are introducing new information for the first time. Examples include: “for example”, “for instance”, “in addition”, “in particular”, “however”, and “instead”. Terms like these link or contrast ideas.

### What are contrast transitions?

These are transitions you use when you’re adding information that’s different from other information. These include in contrast, on the other hand, or however.