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# Building Math Skills

## Grade 4 Tips for Parents

• Engage in estimations with your child. Ask, "How far do you think it is from here to the corner? The mall? School?" "How tall do you think that tree is?" When you go shopping, say, "I can only spend \$25, so you try to estimate when we are close to the limit." When traveling by car, see who can make the closest estimate of 1 mile, then 5 miles; use the odometer to check.

• Make up story problems around math facts such as 12+12-6x1/2. For example, 12 elephants were joined by 12 zebras, but 3 elephants and 3 zebras decided to go off on their own to take a nap. How many were then left? But because there wasn't enough grass to eat, half of them went to another part of the savanna. Now how many were left? It doesn't matter how silly the stories become.

• Many games will reveal your child's knowledge of numbers as well as of words and directions. Play tic-tac-toe, dots, checkers, concentration, hangman, Scrabble, and increasingly complex card games such as hearts, rummy, cribbage. Keep playing games such as chess and Monopoly, which involve problem solving and mathematics.

• Use a mileage chart as a prop, ask, "Is it farther from Seattle to Washington, DC, or from New York to San Francisco?"

• With a map of the United States, ask, "What is the shortest route from Boston to Grand Forks, North Dakota?" Or have your child trace routes to the homes of relatives and friends around the country -- or the world.

• While cooking or baking, ask your child to read the recipe and measure what quantities are needed. This is a good way to see your child put math to use, and both of you enjoy the companionship.

• Fractions are an increasing part of the math curriculum in the fourth grade. Ask your child to explain, with examples, with examples, such fractions as 3/8, 5/12, and 7/16. Make a graph of such measurements.

• Ask your child to divide 60, 80, and 90 by 4, 5, and 6.

• Work on number families together. For example, you could ask for combinations that relate to the numbers 4, 5, and 9: 4+5=9, 9-5=4, 9-4=5. Your child might ask you to do 5, 6, and 11: 5+6=11, 11-6=5, 11-5=6.

• With a stopwatch, see how quickly your child can run 50 yards. Together, record and graph the times over several months. There is an almost limitless number of activities of this kind. You can also move into calculations such as, "How fast did you go per second in feet? In yards? Or, "If you continued to run at the same speed, how long would it take you to run 100 yards? Or 400 yards? How about 600 yards?" Such activities provide a useful link between mathematical computations and physical experience.

Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month
May is Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month! Don't overlook this opportunity to study and enjoy activities about the history and culture of Asian-Pacific American communities.

The recent rash of tornadoes in Oklahoma, which killed at least two dozen people, may have your students wondering why such natural disasters occur, how they may be affected by them, and what they can do to help. Use these resources to teach the geography of Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States, to explain tornadoes, and to discuss the resulting crises with your class.

Top 10 Galleries
Explore our most popular Top 10 galleries, from Top 10 Behavior Management Tips for the Classroom and Top 10 Classroom Organization Tips from Veteran Teachers to Top 10 Free (& Cheap) Rewards for Students and Top 10 Things Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom. We'll help you get organized and prepared for every classroom situation, holiday, and more! Check out all of our galleries today.

May Calendar of Events
May is full of holidays and events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Backyard Games Week (5/23-29) and Memorial Day (5/27). Plus, celebrate Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month, Clean Air Month, and Physical Fitness & Sports Month all May long!

Common Core Lessons & Resources
Is your school district adopting the Common Core? Work these new standards into your curriculum with our reading, writing, speaking, social studies, and math lessons and activities. Each piece of content incorporates the Common Core State Standards into the activity or lesson.

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