Can Your 4th Grader Solve These Simple Math Problems?

So-Called “Math Games” May Not Do Enough to Help Kids Excel in Math

By the time students are in the fourth grade, it’s clear if they’re struggling in math.  Challenging concepts like fractions can feel overwhelming, and basic memorization and problem solving strategies simply don’t do enough to engage the child’s thinking.  By this age, children need to be able to apply core mathematical concepts to all types of math problems, while understanding that there can be several different ways to solve the same problem.  Basic “math games for 4th grade” may not be enough.  Here’s why:

Eyes on the Prize

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Consider the basic premise of most “educational games”.  They have kids solving puzzles and answering basic math questions that claim to be aligned with educational standards.  There’s a direct correlation of win or lose – a concept that kids understand very well.  “Losing” tells the child “you failed at this”, “you’re too dumb to understand this”, and so on, while “winning” reinforces their competitiveness but may not foster any enthusiasm in actually learning math.  At the same time, every child learns at his or her own pace, and oftentimes, students are rushed through the curriculum (or the game) before they have a complete grasp on the solution.  You’ll likely agree that this is the wrong way to go about teaching math.

A Better Way Forward
Ask your fourth grader to solve this math problem:  Is 3/4 equal to 6/8 ? The answer is “yes”, because each one has the same numerical value. What about 3/4 and 5/8?  Many children who play math games for 4th grade struggle to understand fractional values.  A better way to teach math is through adaptive learning.  This process actually adapts to your child’s unique mathematical abilities while helping them to learn at a pace they feel comfortable with.  Adaptive learning has already been shown to have a profound effect on students’ ability to set (and achieve) higher goals for themselves.  Math games for 4th grade that involve adaptive learning helps students relate number values to many different kinds of math problems, so they’re not just learning the solution, they’re learning the reasoning behind the solution.

4th Grade Fractions

Image: AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

School May Not Be Enough
Ultimately, student success is rooted in a three-pronged approach that includes the involvement of parents and teachers, as well as the child’s own motivation for learning. Whether you’re a parent, a caregiver, or a teacher, you want to feel confident that you’re not just buying math games for 4th grade that are heavy on the “games” aspect.  That’s not to say, of course, that math should be boring.  Learning fractions and other important math skills can be fun and rewarding at the same time.  By choosing the right adaptive learning products, children will learn how to make the connection between math and its application – in a fun, interactive environment that has just enough challenge to keep them interested, but not so much that they’re overwhelmed.  That’s the benefit of adaptive learning – it goes beyond what your child learns in school and gives them hands-on instruction that breaks down problem areas into simple, structured exercises.   If your fourth grader is starting to fall behind in math, you’ll want to take action quickly, since the skills they learn now will continue to be built on in subsequent grades.  That’s why it’s so vital to take the time to talk to your child’s teacher and consider intelligent online math games for 4th grade that reinforce the excitement of learning and problem solving.  Ask yourself this — with learning that adapts to your child instead of the other way around, how much better could their grades be?

 

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Fractions

 

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