Elementary Math Help: 3rd and 4th Grade

If you have a third or fourth grade student who is having problems with math, you can help them out at home! This article can show parents how to teach their 3rd and 4th grade students the mathematics skill they need to excel.

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Math is used every day at school, home and the workplace. While your third or fourth grade child is not expected to know calculus, they should have an understanding of numbers, addition, subtraction, some multiplication, division, and the proper use of measurements. Whether your child is struggling with these skills or you just want to increase their understanding, there are plenty of exercises you can perform as a family to help your student excel in their elementary school math classes.

Expose your child to as much math as possible at home and around town. It will show them that there is a point to their math worksheets and lessons. Number recognition exercises can make a boring car ride fun. Encourage your child to practice addition by counting the number of cars you drive past on the way to school. They can read aloud the license plates or address numbers on the cars and mailboxes you pass. Be sure that your child pays close attention at grocery markets and other stores. These are excellent settings to teach students about numbers, addition and subtraction. Challenge your child to add up various costs in their head. A child in the third and fourth grade should be able to add and subtract numbers up into the 20's and 30's. At home you can make small worksheets for your child to complete. Don't overload your child with additional work; remember it's not a punishment. If you have problems creating effective worksheets, don't forget about educational programming like the programs shown on PBS. These shows are created specifically to help kids with mathematical and other academic skills.

Third grade students should be able to multiply and divide numbers up to 7, while fourth grade students should be familiar with the multiplication tables for all the numbers up to 10. You can use objects from around the house (noodles, beans or toothpicks) to help your child catch on. Objects help a student visualize the abstract mathematical principles she is trying to master. For example, if your child is struggling with 6 x 5, make five piles of six toothpicks each. Then, have them count the total number of tooth picks. They will catch on that this is just another way of performing multiplication. Reverse the process to teach your child about division.

In third and fourth grade, students learn about inches, feet, yards and meters. Measurements are easy to introduce and teach at home. Show your child what a yardstick is. Have them measure the distance from the kitchen to the living room or from their bedroom to the bathroom. Kids love measuring distances around the house and it's a great way to teach them about distances. Children also learn about weight and mass during these years. Scales at home or at the grocery store can teach your child about these concepts. Let them weigh the produce at the store (keep an eye on it until he gets the hang of it!) and ask them to guess the weight before hand to build their estimating skills.

Computer programs and games can help third and fourth grade students to master these and other important mathematical skills. Computer games capture a child's attention through music, bright colors and fun activities. They're readily available at the store or online and many. Don't forget to check out the math games on this site under the Just for Kids section.

Encouragement is critical to a child's academic development. Having fun at home with math will help your student grasp these important subjects and help your family to bond. Don't forget to check with your child's math teacher to see if there are any other at home math activities they recommend or other mathematical concepts that your child needs to work on.

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