## Fourth Grade Math for Parents

**Overview**

The two most important areas of focus for this grade are skill with multiplication and division and building understanding of fractions.

Fourth Graders will develop understanding of and fluency with multi-digit multiplication and division. Eventually, they should be comfortable with methods for multiplication and division that work quickly and accurately. This includes the usual procedures, as well as some which could be faster in some cases or more understandable to the students. For example, 35 x 12 = 35 x 2 x 6 = 70 x 6 = 420. This not only helps when calculator or pencil-and-paper are not available, but helps to prepare for algebra. To be sure these processes work, and to better prepare for algebra, the students will use pictures and other methods to explain why they work.

Fractions is another key element of 4th grade math. To understand why fractions have many names for the same number—for example 1/

*2.*is the same as 2/

*4.*is the same as 3/

*6.*and so on—students will use pictures, instead of “canceling”, which doesn’t really have any meaning for kids at that point, or using fraction multiplication, which would be using an advanced topic for more basic understanding.

**General parent tips for supporting 4th grade math**

- Communicate with your child’s teacher if you are regularly unable to help your child with unfamiliar multiplication or division methods.

- Do math in everyday settings. Encourage your child to recognize fraction equivalence in activities like cooking, for example “I can put in one cup and a half cup of milk or three half-cups of milk”. There are lots of multiplication and division examples, for example estimating how many candies they’ll get from trick-or-treating.

- Especially if your child catches on to procedures quickly, make sure he can explain why something makes sense.

From Bevans and Sinha, University of Oregon Department of Mathematics, October 2014