alyssa hernandez, Erin Smith, Sydney Forster, Miranda Guerrero
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Game, Interactive, Teaching/Learning Strategy
College / Upper Division
  • 2nd Grade Centers
  • Benefits of Centers
  • Centers
  • Content Learning Centers
  • How to Create a Center
  • Second Grade
  • Second Grade Centers
  • Second Grade Stations
  • Stations
    Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike

    Content Learning Center

    Content Learning Center


    This template gives an insight of what content learning centers look like in a second grade classroom. It briefly discusses the definition, benefits, and examples of core subject centers. This template will also show you how to set up a center including your role in the process. 

    Definition & Benefits

    Defining Content Learning Centers: Learning centers are small areas within the classroom where students select from teacher prepared activities to practice and apply the skills they have been taught. 

    Benefits of Content Learning Centers:

    Learning centers are beneficial for students' learning and development. Learning centers should be engaging and motivating for the students. These centers should also have modifications to accommodate the students and their learning styles. 

    Center activities play a critical role in fostering student learning. Cognitive skills are developed in a child-centered environment as students are empowered to make decisions, negotiate with peers, and create projects and scenarios while engaged in play. Executive function skills, such as self-control, planning/organizing, and cognitive flexibility, are central as students cooperate, problem solve and persist in an environment of creativity and curiosity. These same skills and behaviors, which are also assessed on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, connect directly to a person’s later success in school, college and career.

    Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Positive Character Traits and Personal Skills, Kindergarten-Grade 2

    (c) Knowledge and skills.

    (1) Trustworthiness. The student understands how personal skills, choices, and actions relate to character building. The student is expected to:

    (A) describe how personal choices lead to personal actions; Character Traits §120.A. June 2022 Update Page 2 of

    (B) explain what it means to be trustworthy; and

    (C) identify personal actions that build trustworthiness, including being honest and punctual.

    (2) Responsibility. The student understands the concept of responsibility and how personal actions and self-management skills demonstrate responsibility. The student is expected to:

    (A) describe and give examples of how feelings and beliefs influence personal actions;

    (B) describe how to make personal choices before speaking and acting;

    (C) define self-control and discuss effective self-management skills, including listening to others, managing one's emotions, and setting goals; and

    (D) identify instances in which self-management skills are important.

    (3) Caring. The student understands how personal actions and interpersonal skills demonstrate characteristics of caring. The student is expected to:

    (A) listen actively when sharing and cooperating with others;

    (B) define patience and identify actions that demonstrate patience; and

    (C) explain and identify examples of how actions can demonstrate kindness to others.

    (4) Good citizenship. The student understands how personal actions and responsible decision making can demonstrate good citizenship. The student is expected to:

    (A) define fairness and identify examples of fairness when making decisions in a variety of situations;

    (B) define and identify examples of school pride and patriotism;

    (C) explain what it means to demonstrate respect and courtesy and why it is important to demonstrate respect and courtesy to others; and

    (D) describe ways in which individuals demonstrate respect for authority and law.


    2nd grade characteristics: 




    Math Center

    2nd grade Math Goals : 

    2(a)(2) The process standards describe ways in which students are expected to engage in the content. The placement of the process standards at the beginning of the knowledge and skills listed for each grade and course is intentional. The process standards weave the other knowledge and skills together so that students may be successful problem solvers and use mathematics efficiently and effectively in daily life. The process standards are integrated at every grade level and course. When possible, students will apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students will use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution. Students will select appropriate tools such as real objects, manipulatives, algorithms, paper and pencil, and technology and techniques such as mental math, estimation, number sense, and generalization and abstraction to solve problems. Students will effectively communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations such as symbols, diagrams, graphs, computer programs, and language. Students will use mathematical relationships to generate solutions and make connections and predictions. Students will analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas. Students will display, explain, or justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.

    Title : Alligator, Alligator are you ready for your feast? 

    TEK: 2(b)(2) Number and operations. The student applies mathematical process standards to understand how to represent and compare whole numbers, the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers, and relationships within the numeration system related to place value. The student is expected to:

    (D) use place value to compare and order whole numbers up to 1,200 using comparative language, numbers, and symbols (>, <, or =);

    Objective: Students will be able to generate,compare, and label numbers using symbols (>, <, or =). 


    - White board 

    - Dry erase marker

    - Linking cubes 

    - DIY greater/less than sign 


    1. Randomly collect a handful of linking cubes 

    2. Place linking cubes on two seperate sides 

    3. Count how many are on each side 

    4. Decide which number is greater than or equal to 

    5. Write it down on the white board 

    Greater than or Less than

    Learning Strategy Input: 

    • Oral 
    • Written 
    • Hands-on 

    Benefit of Center: Comparing numbers is a subject taught in the second grade classroom. Students are able to work as a group or individually to re-establish what was taught that day/week.


    Science Center


    Second Grade Science Goals: 

    (B) Within the physical environment, students expand their understanding of the properties of objects such as temperature, shape, and flexibility then use those properties to compare, classify, and then combine the objects to do something that they could not do before. Students manipulate objects to demonstrate a change in motion and position.


    2(b)(6) Force, motion, and energy. The student knows that forces cause change and energy exists in many forms. The student is expected to 

    (C) trace and compare patterns of movement of objects such as sliding, rolling, and spinning over time.

    Objective: Students will be able to create their own ramp to trace and compare patterns of the ball rolling over time.


    - Ramp (could be a cardboard box / any flat surface) 

    - Four different textured small rolling balls

    - Stop watch 


    1. Set up ramp 

    2. Roll down the balls from the top 

    3. Record how much time it took for each ball to get to the bottom with a stop watch (each student keeps track of a different ball)

    4. Adjust ramp (higher, lower, wider, thinner)

    5. Repeat, until 3 tries are completed 

    6. Compare and contrast results 

    7. Create explanations into why the ball was faster or slower to reach the bottom. 

    Ramp Example

    Learning Strategy Input: 

    • Hands-on
    • Visual 
    • Oral 
    • Written

    Benefit of Center: In this center students work together to gather information using their own ramp the group created. This gives students a visual representation along with a hands-on activity to complete their science knowledge. 


    Writing Center



    2nd Grade English Language Arts and Reading Goals : 

    2(a)(1) The English language arts and reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) embody the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking through the seven integrated strands of developing and sustaining foundational language skills; comprehension; response; multiple genres; author's purpose and craft; composition; and inquiry and research. The strands focus on academic oracy (proficiency in oral expression and comprehension), authentic reading, and reflective writing to ensure a literate Texas. The strands are integrated and progressive with students continuing to develop knowledge and skills with increased complexity and nuance in order to think critically and adapt to the ever-evolving nature of language and literacy.

    Title: Talk About It 

    TEK: 2(b)(12) Composition: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts--genres. The student uses genre characteristics and craft to compose multiple texts that are meaningful. The student is expected to:

    (A) compose literary texts, including personal narratives and poetry;

    Objective: Students will be able to either write persona; narrativies, poems, or speaking about their personal experiences, ideas in other texts, and society. 


    - Sheet of paper

    - Pencil/pen

    - Flash cards with writing prompts  


    1. Choose a flashcard to recieve a topic 

    2. Decide to either write about or orally speak about topic

    3. Share writing or read other narratives  

    Student writing

    Learning Strategy Input: 

    • Oral 
    • Written 
    • Reading

    Benefit of Center: Students are able to think and express themselves either by writing individually or orally explaining aloud to other students. Students learn to verbally voice out their opinions and thoughts about a certain topic they find important to talk about. 


    Social Studies

    Second Grade Social Studies Goals: 

    2(a)(1) In Grade 2, students focus on a study of their local community by examining the impact of significant individuals and events on the history of the community as well as on the state and nation. Students begin to develop the concepts of time and chronology. The relationship between the physical environment and human activities is introduced as are the concepts of consumers and producers. Students identify functions of government as well as services provided by the local government. Students continue to acquire knowledge of customs, symbols, and celebrations that represent American beliefs and principles. Students identify the significance of works of art in the local community and explain how technological innovations have changed transportation and communication. Students communicate what they have learned in written, oral, and visual forms


    2(b)(2) History. The student understands the concepts of time and chronology. The student is expected to:

    (B) apply vocabulary related to chronology, including past, present, and future; and

    Objective: Students will be able to categorize pictures by past, present, future. 


    - Past, present, and future photographs (fashion, objects, buildings, people)

    - Categorized note cards labeled past, present, future 


    1. Students will work together to seperate photos in three categories; past, present, and future 

    Photograph Examples:

     Fashion plates (1920) fashion plate | Free Photo Illustration - rawpixelVintage Flying Car - Openclipart

    Learning Strategy Input: 

    • Visual
    • Hands-on 
    • Speaking 
    • Listening 

    Benefit of Center: In this center students work together to categorize images by past, present, and future.



    In conclusion

    In Conclusion: Centers should be fun, encouraging, and effective. They should let the students and the teacher know what needs work, and what they are actually getting. They are a fun way for students to learn and work as a group, and individually apply their skills.

    Role of the teacher:

    The teacher’s role is two-fold. First, a teacher should be purposeful in establishing the routines, selecting the materials, and planning a purpose or problem to solve for each center. The teacher is thoughtful in introducing the center to the entire class with a hands-on demonstration in the proper usage of the materials and the rules to follow. Students practice and role play the desired activity at each center, including the storage and clean-up of materials, until the teacher is comfortable with their performance. Materials are rotated in centers throughout the year based on observations of student interest and the topic or unit being taught by the teacher.

    The second role of the teacher is being intentional and visible by observing and engaging students during center time. Throughout the year, the teacher asks questions, provides feedback, highlights positive examples of student behavior and work, and makes adjustments when necessary. The information collected is used as formative assessment to inform instruction. It may be to introduce a new skill or concept, re-teach a skill, or challenge individual students to the next level in their learning. 

    Creating a Center:

    • Each center needs to be about 15-20 min

    • 4-5 students per group

    • Different subjects in each center: math, art, writing, reading, technology, etc.

    • Differentiate groups, some individual work and some group work

    • Add games into a center or two

    • One center needs to be working with the teacher on anything they are struggling with, or just something that lets the teacher know where they are, what they understand, and what they need to improve on

    • Each center the students need to clean up after themselves, give them at least one minute to clean up so they understand that they can’t just leave things out

    • Give clear instructions as to what is expected of them

    • Needs to be age appropriate and let them be creative in a center or two

    • Each group needs to be respectful of each other and the other groups 

    • Self-direct skills, fun but effective strategies, whatever works for them to be successful, and appropriate accommodations should be found in each center

    • Overall let the students help one another and then if they can’t figure it out, then they can ask the teacher

    How to create a learning center