Math in the Fourth Grade

One if the best ways to understand a problem in math is to illustrate it with diagrams and pictures. Students can use a drawing program such as Kid PIx to create a series of diagrams with labels that show how the math problem was figured. These diagrams can then be presented as a slide show, with live commentary from the student.

Word problems are often difficult to figure out unless they are illustrated. Students can draw or copy and paste the characters and elements of the word problem, in stages to match the progression of the words. For example, "Judy had 6 yards of fabric. To make a tent, she needed 8 1/4 yards. How much more fabric did she need?" might be illustrated with a series of pictures, first one of Judy with 6 yards, next a picture of a tent and 6 yards of fabric, next a picture of the 6 yeards and 8 1/4 yards juxtaposed, and so forth. This kind of visual explanation makes for a good oral report, as well as a helpful way to understand and solve the problem.

The field of geometry (shapes, sizes, attributes, similarities, etc.) are best explained with pictures and diagrams. Any of the computer drawing or painting programs can create accurate geometric patterns quickly and color them in for emphasis. By presenting these geometric figures as a series of slides, students can point out the similarities and differences.

The most mundane of all math skills, the multiplication table can come alive with an "illustrated flash card slide show." Creating the show can help the student understand what multiplication is all about, beyond the facts that must be memorized. Each slide shows one fact in numerals (such as 3 x 4 = ) and presents twelve objects arranged in a three-by-four rectangle. As these pictures are shown in a slide show, students should be prompted to call out the answer.

Websites (Interactive practice on basic math skills) (An "amusement park" of math) (Site to help students improve math skills) (National Library of Virtual Manipulatives)

Software provided by MCPS

Alge Blaster 3

Math Blaster: In search of Spot

Millie's Math House

The Cruncher

Sample Lesson Data Project

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