Fourth Grade School Work: What Your 4th Grader Will Learn

During the fourth grade, students review important concepts from the third grade and continue to develop academic skills in math, English language arts, science and social studies. Continue reading to learn more about what fourth graders commonly study.

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What Does a Fourth Grader Learn in School?

During the fourth grade, students are developing their capacity to do schoolwork independently and to complete assignments on time. They're also increasing their ability to gather information for independent projects and present their ideas in a clear and well-organized way. During the year, fourth graders are likely to take classes in math, science, social studies, physical education, visual arts and English language arts.

English Language Arts


Fourth graders often read a variety of chapter books and evaluate what they've read during class discussions. Reading assignments are given to help students refine their capacity to identify character traits, predict story outcomes and consider the central message within a text. During discussions, students may be asked to back up ideas with evidence from the text. At this stage of learning, students should be able to read aloud fluently and to self-correct pronunciation mistakes. Students should also be comfortable using a dictionary and thesaurus.


Fourth graders may be expected to write brief book reports and research papers that frame clear arguments in complete sentences. Through written assignments, students practice various aspects of the writing process, such as brainstorming, organizing points and revision. At this stage, spelling should be mostly accurate and students should be fairly comfortable applying the correct usage of commas, question marks, apostrophes, colons and quotation marks in their writing.


Math class for fourth graders will focus on developing a strong understanding of arithmetic, basic geometry and age-appropriate problem solving. Students will practice adding and subtracting 4-digit numbers, multiplying 2-digit numbers and completing long division problems with single- and double-digit divisors. At this age, students may also practice math problems involving improper fractions and decimals. In geometry units, students may be asked to decipher the perimeter, area and volume of certain geometrical solids and to identify basic geometric shapes.


Fourth grade students most often take a science course with units in earth, physical and life science. While studying physical science, students may learn about physical changes in matter, physical properties of various substances and how materials can act as conductors and insulators of electricity. Life science lessons may teach students about the basic systems in the human body, the five vertebrate groups and how plants and animals adapt to survive in diverse environments. While studying earth science, students are likely to explore stages within the water cycle, weather conditions and the Solar System.

Social Studies

In social studies classes, fourth graders might study geography, learn to use atlases and maps, read biographies of important historical figures and study the three branches of government in the United States. Students may also learn to decipher the difference between primary and secondary sources and may read and discuss historical excerpts from diaries, letters, newspapers, books and websites.

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