Fourth Grade Word Problems: Help Your 4th Grader Solve Word Problems

Word problems are a constant presence in math education; they appear on many exams children take, from elementary school through high school. Teachers use the concepts learned in class to write fourth grade word problems that practice math skills and stretch students to use higher order thinking. Keep reading for information about word problems and ways that you can help your fourth grader.

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Helping Your Child with Fourth Grade Word Problems

Getting Your Child Ready

Most fourth grade curriculums are based on the common core standards for math education. By becoming familiar with these standards, you can gain a greater understanding of where word problems fit into the bigger picture of your child's education. Get in touch with your child's teachers to find out precisely what kind of support he or she needs at home. Because word problems not only address math skills but also reading comprehension, the type of lessons you'll need to provide may be multi-faceted.

Problem Solving in Steps

One of the best ways to simplify seemingly complex and confusing word problems is by teaching your child to follow the same steps every time. First, have your child read the problem aloud and then describe what it means in his or her own words. If your child is unable to do this, he or she will first need to work on literacy before being able to solve a word problem at this level.

Next, ask your child to break down what the important information is in the problem. The name of a character, for example, wouldn't be as important as the numeric amounts featured in the problem. Have your child deconstruct the text into a simple math equation and then solve it.

Simple Word Problems

The following example is a simple fourth grade word problem that your child is likely to encounter:

'Bella's family is moving to a new house. She's packing up all the family books into boxes. Bella puts 35 books in each box and ends up with 12 boxes. How many books does her family have?'

This problem is somewhat simple because it only has one equation and does not contain extra information. It's appropriate for fourth graders because it features double digit multiplication. Have your child solve it using the steps detailed above. The answer is 420 books.

Challenging Word Problems

Here's an example of a more challenging word problem:

'Bella's family has 500 books. If Bella can fit 35 books in a box and has 12 boxes, how many books can she pack? How many more boxes does she need?'

This word problem addresses typical fourth grade math skills but is more challenging because it mixes operations. Begin by multiplying 35 by 12, which is 420 and the answer to the first question asked. Now, your child should subtract 500 - 420 to find out how many books are left over (80). As a result, Bella will need three more boxes to fit the remaining books.

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