The Common Core in fourth grade mathematics focuses on three main topics: multiplication and division, fractions, and geometry. Our Everyday Mathematics 4 program is written to the Common Core, and therefore, the lessons focus mainly on different aspects of these topics. Measurement is another area that is addressed in many ways throughout the year and in every math unit. Everyday Mathematics 4 also emphasizes equally all three of the Common Core's dimensions of rigor: conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and applications. The daily lessons and work that we do provides many opportunities for students to apply what they know to solve problems.
In addition to content (academic) standards like "Add multidigit whole numbers fluently using the standard algorithm (method)," Everyday Math 4 also has what they term "math process standards." These are behaviors and practices that students will use to help them to solve problems. One example of a math practice standard is "Attend to precision." In practice, this would mean things like: measure carefully, review the reasonableness of your answers, make sure you have commas in your numbers in the correct places, make sure you have lined up your places when adding or subtracting, clearly label the units of your answer, etc.
We have finished unit 4 in our Everday Math 4 program and students will show you their test at parent-teacher conferences in February. We have begun unit 5, which focuses on computation with fractions and mixed-numbers and measurement. Specific topics that we will be studying are: fraction decomposition; what is the whole for fractions; adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers; graphing data using a line plot; measuring angles; and multistep number stories ("word problems"). Most of the work we will do adding and subtracting will be with fractions with like denominators, although we will learn how to add tenths and hundredths together. Students should take the written test sometime in February. We will send home a practice test to help students prepare prior to the actual test.
The grading of the tests is a little different now, too. Each question on the test is related to one of five specific "domains" (such as Geometry or Fractions). Students will receive a grade for each domain that is addressed on a given test, and these domains are what students get grades on, on their report cards. Most tests address two or three different domains. There are challenge problems at the end of each test that allow students the opportunity to show that they have an advanced understanding of the standard or domain (to score a '4'). Graded tests will be reviewed with the students and then sent home.
We know that some students have not yet mastered their basic addition and subtraction facts. Practicing a few minutes per night can be helpful. Later in the year, knowing basic multiplication facts will be critical. This skill is crucial for success in fourth grade mathematics, as knowledge of and fluency with multiplication facts will help students solve problems involving geometry, multiplication and division, and fractions. For example, understanding factors and multiples, and seeing the patterns in numbers will help students to see the relationships between numerators and denominators, when generating equivalent fractions, when reducing fractions, and when comparing fractions to see which is bigger. Students will see that division is just a different way of looking at multiplication, and that they can use their knowledge of multiplication facts to help them solve a division problem. Calculating the area of a shape requires multiplying numbers. Having students practice multiplication facts at home for 5 - 10 minutes per night could have great benefits. This could be done by rolling two dice and multiplying the numbers (works on facts up to 6 x 6), dealing two cards from a standard deck (remove face cards and aces are equal to 1) and multiplying them together (works on facts up to 10 x 10), by using flashcards, or playing math games on the Internet. You can do a quick Google search on "multiplication facts games for kids" and then check and test out a few sites to see if they are worthwhile.
As we are finishing up a given unit, a "Family Letter" for the upcoming unit may be sent home on paper. Please keep this for reference as we work our way through the unit. You are also able to view the Family Letter from this page--just scroll down to the attachments below. The Family Letter gives an overview of the unit, defines key vocabulary terms, gives ideas how you can support your child by doing "anytime activities," and gives some of the answers to each home link (homework).
If you need assistance at figuring out how to do an algorithm (method) or need to know the definition of a math term, please click here.
If you are looking for computer math games to help your child practice their math facts, click here.
If there are other resources or links you would like to see posted to this web site, please contact Mr. Shaffer at 720.970.8434 or Guy.Shaffer@adams12.org.