Students generally begin learning about polygons in 3rd grade, including how to determine perimeters. In 4th grade, your child may build on this knowledge by learning how to find the area of certain polygons. Help him or her work with polygons by using the following tips.

How Can I Help My 4th Grader Work with Polygons?

Polygons that 4th graders typically learn about are squares, rectangles, triangles, trapezoids and parallelograms. Curriculums vary, but 4th graders typically review classification of polygons with at least 8-10 sides and find their perimeters. They learn to classify the types of triangles and calculate the areas of squares, rectangles and complex polygons. The concept of symmetry is also presented.

Review Polygons and Their Perimeters

Books can be an enjoyable way to review what your child learned about polygons in 3rd grade and prepare him for what he'll learn in 4th grade. Look for the following titles at your local library or bookstore.

• The Great Polygon Caper by Karen Ferrell
• Polygons by David L. Steinecker
• Where We Play Sports: Measuring the Perimeters of Polygons by Greg Roza
• Perimeter and Area at the Amusement Park by Dianne Irving

Use Geoboards

A geoboard is used in classrooms for hands-on learning in geometry. They can be purchased at teacher supply stores. You can also simulate geoboards on paper with appropriately spaced dots. Alternatively, you can find virtual ones on the Internet.

Explain to your child that the space between two pegs is one unit. Show her how to make a square or rectangle by placing rubber bands around a group of nails. From there, explain that she can find the perimeter by counting the spaces around the edge and the area by counting the number of squares inside the shape. Ask her to make some shapes on the geoboard and copy them onto graph paper with the name of the shape.

Incorporate Other Learning Activities

To determine the symmetry of polygons and other shapes, your child can cut shapes out of paper and fold each one in the middle to see if the two parts match. For other ways to work with polygons, search online. For example, Math Cats offers a section on their website called the 'Polygon Playground' (www.mathcats.com). Search YouTube.com for songs about polygons that may help your child with retention.

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