In 4th grade, students master and further their multiplication, division, and general computation skills. They learn how to solve real-life word problems using the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) and larger numbers. By the end of the year, they are also expected to do all of these operations with greater accuracy and speed. They need not speed through their work, but they need to be able to do it at a pace that shows they understand how to solve a problem without going through too many steps and with a relatively quick sense of how to do it. In addition, 4th graders are encouraged to explain how they solve problems in detailed and specific ways (verbally and through writing), which also helps them practice their writing and analytic skills. In 4th grade, students still use visuals, math tools, and manipulatives (such as base blocks, fake money, dice, and shapes), especially to learn and explain how they solve problems with fractions.
In order to build math skills, your 4th grader:
- Uses addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve word problems, including word problems that require multiple steps and computations.
- Adds and subtracts multi-digit numbers.
- Multiplies a number that has up to 4 digits by a 1-digit number, (for example, 2345 x 6) and multiplies two 2-digit numbers by each other, (for example, 13 x 16).
- Solves division equations with remainders.
- Solves word problems that measure distance, time, size, money, area, and perimeter.
- Predicts answers to word problems and equations based on knowledgeable estimation.
- Understands the concepts of and learns the multiples and factors for numbers 1-100.
- Follows a pattern or set of guidelines to determine a number. For example: Start with 5. Add 3 five times and subtract 1. What number are you left with?
- Compares and explains why one fraction is bigger or smaller than another using visuals and/or common denominators.
- Begins to add and subtract fractions, including within word problems.
- Begins to write and compare fractions as decimals.
- Reads and writes multi-digit numbers using bases of ten and expanded forms. For example: 4,538 = 4 thousands, 5 hundreds, 3 tens, and 8 ones.
- Compares multi-digit number using < and >.
- Rounds multi-digit numbers to any place.
- Creates and uses graphs to represent data and answer questions (specifically, creates line plots).
- Begins to learn about, measure, and decipher the angles of a shape.
- Explains her thinking and how she solves math equations and word problems both verbally and through writing.
- Appoint a Family Mathematician: Now that your child is very capable in her math skills, take advantage of the opportunities available for her to help solve math problems you encounter in everyday life. For example, ask her to figure how much change you will receive, what measurements you need for carpeting a room, or how much of an ingredient you need when you are doubling or tripling a recipe. Make your child the family mathematician!
- Create Math Riddles: Make up your own math riddles for each other, in which you provide set guidelines and ask each other to find the final number (as explained in the bullet points above). For example: “Start at 39. Subtract 4, divide by 7, and add 6. What number are you left with?” You can do this for your child, and your child can do this for you! Change things up a bit and give your child a number to end up with and ask him to create a riddle with at least three steps, and use different operations, that would leave you with this number.
- Make Predications: Give your child (and have your child give you) difficult math equations. Ask each other to predict your answers using estimation and then explain how you developed this prediction. Then solve the problems and see whose guess is closer to the correct answer. Do this for a few problems and keep score.
- Make a Multiples and Factors Treasure Hunt: Write numbers on small cards and hide them around the house. Ask your child to find all the factors or multiples of a certain number. Be sure to include some numbers that are not multiples and factors; when your child finds those she should leave them where they are.