Elementary Math Help: 3rd and 4th Grade

If you have a third or fourth grade student who is having problems with math, you can help them out at home! This article can show parents how to teach their 3rd and 4th grade students the mathematics skill they need to excel.

Math is used every day at school, home and the workplace. While your third or fourth grade child is not expected to know calculus, they should have an understanding of numbers, addition, subtraction, some multiplication, division, and the proper use of measurements. Whether your child is struggling with these skills or you just want to increase their understanding, there are plenty of exercises you can perform as a family to help your student excel in their elementary school math classes.

Expose your child to as much math as possible at home and around town. It will show them that there is a point to their math worksheets and lessons. Number recognition exercises can make a boring car ride fun. Encourage your child to practice addition by counting the number of cars you drive past on the way to school. They can read aloud the license plates or address numbers on the cars and mailboxes you pass. Be sure that your child pays close attention at grocery markets and other stores. These are excellent settings to teach students about numbers, addition and subtraction. Challenge your child to add up various costs in their head. A child in the third and fourth grade should be able to add and subtract numbers up into the 20's and 30's. At home you can make small worksheets for your child to complete. Don't overload your child with additional work; remember it's not a punishment. If you have problems creating effective worksheets, don't forget about educational programming like the programs shown on PBS. These shows are created specifically to help kids with mathematical and other academic skills.

Third grade students should be able to multiply and divide numbers up to 7, while fourth grade students should be familiar with the multiplication tables for all the numbers up to 10. You can use objects from around the house (noodles, beans or toothpicks) to help your child catch on. Objects help a student visualize the abstract mathematical principles she is trying to master. For example, if your child is struggling with 6 x 5, make five piles of six toothpicks each. Then, have them count the total number of tooth picks. They will catch on that this is just another way of performing multiplication. Reverse the process to teach your child about division.

In third and fourth grade, students learn about inches, feet, yards and meters. Measurements are easy to introduce and teach at home. Show your child what a yardstick is. Have them measure the distance from the kitchen to the living room or from their bedroom to the bathroom. Kids love measuring distances around the house and it's a great way to teach them about distances. Children also learn about weight and mass during these years. Scales at home or at the grocery store can teach your child about these concepts. Let them weigh the produce at the store (keep an eye on it until he gets the hang of it!) and ask them to guess the weight before hand to build their estimating skills.

Computer programs and games can help third and fourth grade students to master these and other important mathematical skills. Computer games capture a child's attention through music, bright colors and fun activities. They're readily available at the store or online and many. Don't forget to check out the math games on this site under the Just for Kids section.

Encouragement is critical to a child's academic development. Having fun at home with math will help your student grasp these important subjects and help your family to bond. Don't forget to check with your child's math teacher to see if there are any other at home math activities they recommend or other mathematical concepts that your child needs to work on.



Social, moral and cognitive development of younger schoolboys

An abacus provides concrete experiences for learning abstract concepts. To understand the characteristics of learners in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age, educational psychology develops and applies theories of human development. Often represented as stages through which people pass as they mature, developmental theories describe changes in mental abilities (cognition), social roles, moral reasoning, and beliefs about the nature of knowledge.

For example, educational psychologists have researched the instructional applicability of Jean Piaget's theory of development, according to which children mature through four stages of cognitive capability. Piaget hypothesized that children are not capable of abstract logical thought until they are older than about 11 years, and therefore younger children need to be taught using concrete objects and examples. Researchers have found that transitions, such as from concrete to abstract logical thought, do not occur at the same time in all domains. A child may be able to think abstractly about mathematics, but remain limited to concrete thought when reasoning about human relationships. Perhaps Piaget's most enduring contribution is his insight that people actively construct their understanding through a self-regulatory process.

Piaget proposed a developmental theory of moral reasoning in which children progress from a naive understanding of morality based on behavior and outcomes to a more advanced understanding based on intentions. Piaget's views of moral development were elaborated by Kohlberg into a stage theory of moral development. There is evidence that the moral reasoning described in stage theories is not sufficient to account for moral behavior. For example, other factors such as modeling (as described by the social cognitive theory of morality) are required to explain bullying.

Rudolf Steiner's model of child development interrelates physical, emotional, cognitive, and moral development in developmental stages similar to those later described by Piaget.

Developmental theories are sometimes presented not as shifts between qualitatively different stages, but as gradual increments on separate dimensions. Development of epistemological beliefs (beliefs about knowledge) have been described in terms of gradual changes in people's belief in: certainty and permanence of knowledge, fixedness of ability, and credibility of authorities such as teachers and experts. People develop more sophisticated beliefs about knowledge as they gain in education and maturity.


Lesson clarity

This key behavior refers to how clear and interpretable a presentation is to the class. Research on clarity suggests teachers vary considerably on this behavior: not all teachers are able to communicate clearly and directly to their pupils without wandering, speaking above pupils levels of comprehension, or using speech patterns that impair the clarity of what is presented. Some indications of a lack of clarity follow:

the extent to which a teacher uses vague, ambiguous, or indefinite language (might probably be, tends to suggest, could possibly happen);

the extent to which a teacher uses overly complicated sentences (there are many important reasons for eating food but some are more important than others, so lets start with those that are thought to be important but really arent);

the extent to which a teacher gives directions that often result in pupil requests for clarification.

Teachers who teach with a high degree of clarity have been found to spend less time going over material and their questions are answered correctly the first time, allowing more time for instruction. Clarity is a complex behavior because it is related to many other cognitive behaviors such as the content, lesson familiarity, and delivery strategies (e.g. whether the teacher uses a discussion, direct instruction or lecture approach, question-and-answer, or small-group format). Nevertheless, research shows that both the cognitive clarity and oral clarity of presentations very substantially among teachers. This in turn produces differences in pupil performance on cognitive tests of achievement.

Achievement is maximized when the teacher not only actively presents the material, but does so in a structured way, such as by beginning with an overview and/or review of objectives. Effective teachers tend to outline the content to be covered and signal transitions between lesson parts. The main ideas are reviewed at the end of the lesson. In this way, the information is not only better remembered by the pupils, but is also more easily apprehended as an integrated whole, with recognition of the relationship between the parts. It is also important to explain not just how, but why, procedures work.

Pupil achievement has been found to be higher when information is presented with a certain amount of redundancy, particularly in the form of repeating and reviewing general rules and key concepts. Information needs to be presented with a high degree of clarity and enthusiasm.

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