Chicago Math Help for Fourth Grade Students

Chicago Math refers to the Everyday Mathematics curriculum developed at the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. Fourth graders studying Chicago Math learn different methods than what is traditionally taught. These differences can make it challenging for you to help your fourth grader, but read on for some aids you can use.

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Learn More about Chicago Math

What Methods Are Used in Chicago Math?

The basic philosophy behind Chicago Math - officially called Everyday Mathematics - is that there is more than one way to solve any problem. Students are taught several methods for doing the four basic kinds of math operations.


There are four methods for doing addition in Chicago Math, but two of them aren't introduced until fifth grade. The two methods used in fourth grade are the partial sums method and the column addition method.


By fourth grade, students in Chicago Math have typically learned the left to right method, the counting up method and the trade first method, which is closest to traditional subtraction. Your child may be introduced to two other methods this year: the same change rule and the partial differences method.


Out of the four Chicago Math multiplication methods, only two are used in fourth grade. These are lattice multiplication and partial products.


Fourth graders using Chicago Math to solve division problems typically use either the partial quotients method or the column division method. These are the only two methods used for division.

What Else Does My Child Learn?

One of the other main focuses of Chicago Math is for students to find their own way of solving problems and share it with others. This is to help them better understand what they are doing, be more motivated to do math and learn from their classmates.

If your child is studying Chicago Math, he or she learns will learn to use calculators. However, many of the activities require your child to practice by hand.

What Aids Are Available in Fourth Grade Chicago Math?

The University of Chicago has a resource and information center for their Everyday Mathematics program ( This website offers aids for parents, including simple explanations of each of the different methods. Videos are also available to demonstrate many of these methods. Go to and type in the name of the method you want to view, such as 'partial quotient division.'

Most homework assignments in fourth grade Chicago Math include study links, which often include explanations about different features of the program. This may help you understand how best to discuss math assignments with your child. You can also encourage your child to teach you what he or she is learning in class.

Chicago Math uses a variety of math games to reinforce learning. A related Family Games Kit may be purchased, or you can create your own games. Play these games on a regular basis with your fourth grader to reinforce basic math facts and different methods presented in Chicago Math.

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