What’s great about fourth grade math is that it’s perfect for games. Help your child clock his speed on his skateboard. Bake two pies and do some imaginary slicing and dicing to help your child work on finding equivalent fractions or subtracting fractions with different denominators (the bottom number). Making math fun really will help your child in the long run.

Here are the 12 math skills your child should learn by the end of fourth grade:

  • Solving multi-step word problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Understanding what a number’s factors are and how to find them.
  • Understanding place value to 1,000,000.
  • Multiplying and dividing two two-digit numbers and multiplying a four-digit number by a one-digit number.
  • Solving division problems with a remainder in the answer.
  • Finding the common denominators (the bottom numbers) of two or more fractions.
  • Multiplying a fraction by a whole number.
  • Adding and subtracting mixed numbers with the same denominator (such as 312 + 12).
  • Comparing fractions with different numerators (the top number) or denominators (the bottom number) or comparing fractions to a unit fraction, like 12.
  • Comparing two decimals to the hundredths place.
  • Understanding the relationships of different units of measure, such as 12 inches = 1 foot.
  • Learning the properties of different shapes, including measuring their angles.

We need to operate

Fourth graders are skilled enough to solve multi-step word problems using any of the four operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division — with equations.

For example: Kayley has 272 beads. She buys 38 more beads. She will use 85 beads to make bracelets and the rest to make necklaces. She needs 9 beads for each necklace. How many necklaces can Kayley make?

272 + 38 = 310. 310 – 85 = 225. 225 ÷ 9 = 25 necklaces

Your child will learn how to find factor pairs for whole numbers up to 100. These are two numbers that, when multiplied, equal the original whole number.

For example: 88 has 4 factor pairs: 2 x 44; 4 x 22; 8 x 11; and 88 x 1

One in a million

Fourth graders learn to read, write, and understand place value up to 1,000,000. Starting with the ones, every place to the left is 10 times greater.

For example: 987,654 = 900,000 + 80,000 + 7,000 + 600 + 50 + 4.

With this understanding of place value, your child will start working with larger numbers, including adding and subtracting whole numbers up to 1,000,000, multiplying two two-digit numbers, and multiplying a four-digit number by a one-digit number.

For example:

Fourth graders also learn to divide a four-digit number by a one-digit number, with a twist. This year, they’ll learn to divide with remainders, which is when the dividend (the number being divided) can’t be split into equal parts.

For example: 9,375 ÷ 7 = 1,339 remainder 2 or 1,339 R2.

Figuring fractions

Fourth graders gain a deeper understanding of fractions. They add and subtract fractions with the same denominator (the bottom number).

For example:

They also add and subtract mixed numbers with the same denominator.

For example: 513 + 813 = 1323

1045 – 525 = 525

Fourth graders learn how to find common denominators when those numbers are different. This helps teach students about equivalent fractions — fractions that have the same value — even though their numerators (top numbers) and denominators (bottom numbers) are different.

For example: 12 is equivalent to 48.

Students also learn to multiply fractions by whole numbers and understand why the product (the answer) is less than the whole number.

For example: 7 x 18 = 78. It could also be written as 71 x 18.

Your child will solve word problems that require adding, subtracting, or multiplying whole numbers by fractions.

For example: Ryan makes backpacks. He uses ¾ yard of cloth to make each one. What is the total amount of cloth, in yards, Ryan uses to make 6 backpacks? 6 x 34 = 61 x 34 = 184 = 4 12 yards.

Fourth graders also learn how to convert fractions with denominators of 10 or 100 into decimals and show them on a number line.

For example: 91100 = 0.91


By any measure

How long is that iguana in your bathtub? One yard? Three feet? 36 inches? Yes, yes, and yes: it’s all of the above. Fourth graders learn the relationship between different units of measurement within each system. In the U.S., 12 inches equals one foot and three feet equals one yard. In the metric system, which is based on 10, it takes 10 millimeters to equal one centimeter and 100 centimeters equal one meter.

In the fourth grade your child will use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve world problems involving time, distance, volume, mass, and money. The questions will often include fractions and decimals and require students to illustrate the problem on a diagram or number line.

For example: Sarah is driving 60 miles per hour to St. Louis, 100 miles away. How many minutes will it take to get there? How many hours?

Where did that side go?

Fourth graders learn to solve real-world problems to determine the perimeter or area of a shape, even if the length of one side is unknown. They’ll apply addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to the formulas for area and perimeter.

For example: Area = length x width
Perimeter = the sum of the length of all sides.

Your fourth grader will learn a few more properties used to classify shapes, such as whether a shape has perpendicular or parallel lines. Kids also work with the angles in shapes. You can expect your child to use a protractor to measure angles, spot a right angle when she sees one, and know that the sum of the angles in a triangle is always 180 degrees, and in a rectangle, it’s always 360 degrees.

True, there are some more advanced concepts in here. If your child’s math homework strikes you as a bit tougher than what you remember, take heart. Keep your attitude toward math positive and try to have some fun helping your child with math this year.

See what fourth graders working at grade level with fractions looks like in our Milestones videos:

Comparing fractions

Fractions in word problems

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