Seven Math Skills your Child Will Learn in 4th Grade

Seven Math Skills your Child Will Learn in 4th Grade

In fourth grade math, students begin to explore more complex math concepts. Don’t get overwhelmed! The best way to support your child is to keep your attitude about math positive as you tackle fourth grade math together. Get started by learning more about what your child will be working on.  

Over the year, your child will: 

1. Multiply bigger numbers 

Now that your child has a basic understanding of multiplication, it’s time to move on to working with bigger numbers. In fourth grade, students learn how to multiply four-digit numbers by one-digit numbers and multiply two two-digit numbers together. 

Support your child to develop understanding by using different strategies when multiplying. For example, your child can use pictures, knowledge of place value, or the traditional way to solve problems. Give your child a multiplication problem and challenge her to solve it in two different ways.

2. Divide with remainders

Just like with multiplication, your fourth grader is ready to move onto more complex division problems. In fourth grade, your child will learn how to divide numbers of up to four digits. These problems will often involve remainders, which may be a new concept for your child to work with. 

Again, these division problems can and should be solved using multiple strategies. Encourage your child to use pictures, rectangular arrays, their knowledge of place value, and/or multiplication. Give your child the freedom to experiment by using different strategies and comparing/contrasting how they work. 

3. Find factors of numbers 1-100 

Though your child is working on multiplying and dividing bigger numbers, she probably isn’t 100 percent fluent in multiplication and division facts.

A great way to practice these facts is by figuring out the factors of two-digit numbers. Have your child list all the factors of a given number between 1-100. Or have a “factor race,” where you both try to list the factors of a number as quickly as possible. 

4. Solve real-world word problems

Your child has been working on developing fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, so she’s ready to start solving problems using all of them (though maybe not all at once!). Your fourth grader is ready to solve multi-step word problems involving real-life scenarios around distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money. 

Help your child solve word problems by giving real-world scenarios to think about. Come up with a multi-step problem but don’t tell your child what they should use to solve it. Talk through the answer together. You can even have your child create word problems for you and check your answers against each other’s. 

5. Understand large numbers in various forms

In previous grades, your child has developed an understanding of place value. In fourth grade, it’s time to read and write multi-digit numbers in a variety of forms. Your child will learn to work with base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form. 

Support your child to write the same number using expanded form and number names. For example, give your child the number 39,420 to write in expanded form: 30,000 + 9,000 + 400 + 20. Challenge your child to do this with even bigger numbers! 

6. Work with fractions

Fourth graders generally have a basic understanding of fractions, but now they’ll learn more about equivalence and multiplying fractions. In fourth grade, students will learn how to compare two fractions with different denominators or different numerators. They will also work on multiplying fractions by a whole number. 

Cooking and baking are great places to find real-world examples of fractions for students to compare (e.g. is ¼ cup of rice bigger than ⅓ cup of broth?) 

7. Compare decimals

Students in fourth grade are developing an understanding of both large numbers and numbers less than 1, like fractions and decimals. In fourth grade, students will compare two decimals to the hundredths place. 

Give your child two different decimals (.24 and .48, for example) to compare. Have your child tell you not only which decimal is bigger, but how many tenths and hundredths are in each number. 

There’s a lot of math learning that will happen over the course of fourth grade - make time to check in with your child regularly to hear all about it!

Found this useful? Check out our grade by grade math guides from Kindergarten to 5th grade

Written by Lily Jones, Lily loves all things learning. She has been a kindergarten & first grade teacher, instructional coach, curriculum developer, and teacher trainer. She loves to look at the world with curiosity and inspire people of all ages to love learning. She lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a little dog. 

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