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Your fourth grader and math

Real numbers in the real world: Fourth grade math emphasizes applying what kids know and knowing what they apply.

By GreatSchools Staff

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What math concepts will your fourth grader learn?

The math your fourth grader is learning might be a little different from what you learned in school: Now there's more emphasis on real-world applications. "The purpose of math in the fourth grade is to help students make the connection between classroom concepts and real-world problem-solving," says Wendy Miller, the 2006 North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

What's real-world problem solving? Try mapping a daily bus route or figuring out how much paper you'd need to plaster a café bulletin board with ads for yoga courses. Long story short, your kid may learn more than one way to solve a problem, focusing on the process — not just the solution. Typically students at this age work to develop an understanding of mathematics and engage in activities that require complex thought instead of just memorizing rules. Children may also work in groups to find solutions to tough math problems.

According to Kathy Rank, Ohio's 2005 Teacher of the Year, "Having students work in groups is an extremely effective technique for getting them actively involved in doing math. It is important that students share solutions and explain their thinking and that they know their ideas will be valued."

Comments from readers

"I love math "
"This is good article. I specially think that 3rd grade parents should read it to get ready for 4th grade."