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Q&A #418


4th grade math

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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jul 15, 1998 at 12:42:04
Subject: Re: 4th grade math

You don't say if your daughter is struggling with math, or comfortable,
so I am going to give you a middle of the road answer.  My fourth graders
who were most successful each year with math usually had a strong
understanding of place value.  They could compare numbers of 4 - 6 digits
and explain which was the largest or smallest.

They could "build" numbers following criteria, using a specific set of
digits, for example, using 1,2,3,4,7 to build the largest even number, or
the smallest odd number, or a number with a 4 in the tens place ( which has
many different answers). They were also able to find sums and differences
(add and subtract) numbers easily and correctly.  Some fourth grade teachers
expect their students to have the multiplication facts memorized.

One thing fourth graders struggle with is fractions.  One way you can help
your daughter prepare for this topic is to have her make fraction strips.
You could also buy these materials, but if a child makes them, that is part
of the learning.  Cut a set of strips that are all the same size.  (Using
lined paper and cutting them so that the lines are running vertically
through the strips ( up and down) is a good idea...   if you make each strip
24 lines long, that will make some of the folding easier, too.

Now, have your daughter label the first strip "one whole".  It will be
worth one.  Take another strip, fold it into two equal pieces, and label
each one "one half"  (you can also use the fraction 1/2, to help your
daughter link the word and the symbol).  Take another strip, and fold it
into four equal pieces (to be labeled fourths).  (there is more than one way
to do these folds.  To make it easier to compare them later, making the
folds vertically, so the segments are all in line, is best.  It is a good
idea to let your daughter see how many different ways she can make these
folds to create "equal" pieces, though.

Continue to make all the fraction pieces from halves to twelfths.  Some
will be more difficult to make than others.  Working through the activity
will help your daughter see the relationships between the fractions though.
Resist the temptation to do it for her so they look neat...

When you are done, you can use these strips to compare fractions to see how
many of one strip make the same sized piece as another strip.  You can also
compare to see which pieces are larger, or smaller than other pieces, for
example, 12 is smaller than 5/8 and 8/12.

Hope this gives you something to have fun with when the sun is too strong to
be outside.   :-)

 -Gail, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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