Common Core Standards: Mathematical Concepts Your Child Should Learn in Grade 4 - dummies

Common Core Standards: Mathematical Concepts Your Child Should Learn in Grade 4

By Jared Myracle

After learning the basics of multiplying, dividing, and fractions in Grade 3, Grade 4 students put their skills to work by applying these Common Core concepts to multi-step word problems, finding equivalent fractions, representing data, and measuring and classifying angles. Specifically, Common Core Standards in Grade 4 math focus on these three areas:

  • Multiplication and division: Students move up to multiplying and dividing by multi-digit numbers.

  • Fractions: Understanding of fractions expands to include using fractional equivalence as the comparison of fractions with different numerators and denominators (for example, 4/8 is equal to 1/2), adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators, and multiplying a fraction by a whole number.

  • Classifying shapes: Students classify and compare shapes based on their characteristics, such as angles, number of sides, whether the sides are parallel or perpendicular, and so on.

Operations and algebraic thinking

In Grade 4, students begin to use multiplication to solve multi-step word problems, including using a letter to represent an unknown number. Students also progress toward understanding the concept that the order in which two numbers are multiplied doesn’t matter; for example, 2 × 3 is equal to 3 × 2.

Factoring numbers from 1 to 100 (for example, 100 = 5 × 20) and using number patterns is also incorporated into this domain.

Write out word problems for your child to complete using math skills your child has already acquired. It’s important for her to be able to transfer skills from number problems to word problems without losing sight of the central math concept. Help her distinguish essential from nonessential information when solving problems.

Number and operations in base ten

In Grade 4, students use their understanding of place value in the tens and hundreds place to divide numbers and to compare the value of multi-digit numbers. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with multi-digit numbers continue to reinforce place value.

Continue practicing math problems with multi-digit numbers in order to build familiarity and fluency. It’s essential for your child to grasp place value in the tens and hundreds places, so make him explain the place value of each part of every problem.

Number and operations: Fractions

In this domain, students extend the use of fractions to finding equivalent fractions and develop an understanding that two fractions can be equivalent even though they don’t consist of the exact same numbers (for example, 1/3 is equal to 2/6). They also compare fractions with different numerators (the top number) and denominators (the bottom number).

Students are required to decompose fractions into simpler fractions that equal the original fraction, multiply by whole numbers, and write fractions that are already equivalent to tenths, hundredths, and thousandths as decimals.

Practice fractions at home as often as possible. Continue to use everyday objects to demonstrate fractions, including comparing equivalent fractions and fractions with different numerators and denominators. For example, if you cut a pizza into eight slices, ask your child how many slices the family would need to eat to eat 1/2 or 3/4 of the pizza. Concrete displays of fractions reinforce that fractions are parts of the whole.

Measurement and data

In Grade 4, students discover how to express measurements as being relative to other measurements, and they solve word problems that incorporate the measurement of various objects. They also plot data in the form of fractions on a line and can compare the sizes or amounts represented by different points on the graph. Students also begin to understand angle measurements and the tools used to measure angles.

Practice ordering fractions on a number line. Reinforce your child’s understanding of sizes with fractions by using small objects or drawings to represent each fraction. Start with fractions that have the same denominator at first. After your child demonstrates mastery of comparing fractions that have the same denominator, make the exercise more difficult by introducing fractions with different denominators.


Students draw lines and angles and can classify the type of angle (right, acute, and obtuse). They also use a line of symmetry to fold a shape into equal parts.

Practice using a protractor to measure angles. Have your child compare the size of angles and to classify the angles as right, acute, or obtuse. Make sure she explains why each measured angle is right, acute, or obtuse in order to support her understanding of the angle types.

Encourage your child to recognize lines of symmetry and angles in real-world objects, such as the vertical line that separates two sides of a face or the angle of a ramp leading into a building.