Fourth grade is a year when basic math facts stop being the focus of math class in favor of more complex word problems, pre-algebra and geometry. This is a crucial year for math students. How can you, as a parent, know that your child is excelling in 4th grade algebra? Consider these simple questions.
1. Are Grades Rising or Dropping?
If you notice a sudden shift in your child’s math grades, it could be because 4th grade algebra was introduced. A sudden downward shift is a sign that your child is not excelling. If you notice it, make an appointment with the teacher to determine if algebra is the problem, and consider looking into enrichment options.
2. Is Your Child Excited About Math?
Children are excited about the things they are good at. If your child is excited about math after the introduction of 4th grade algebra, chances are high that your child is doing well in this subject. If your child is not excited about math, it might not mean that he is struggling, but it can be a sign of a problem. Children who are excelling are often excited about what they are doing and want to talk to you about it at the end of the day. If your child is not excited or talking about math, ask about it. Find out why they are not interested or excited in this crucial subject, and use that information to find a way to help.
3. Can He Solve Simple Equations at Home?
When you are home with your child, ask him some simple equations, such as “three times what equals 18?” Throw several of these at your child over the course of a day. Make them a combination of easy and hard questions. By doing so, you will get a feel for how well your child understands the basic concepts of 4th grade algebra. Test your child’s knowledge with these 4th grade worksheets.
4. Can She Define Algebra Terms?
Part of what makes 4th grade algebra so challenging is the number of new algebraic terms your child has to learn. Quiz her on these terms to see how she is doing. Common 4th grade algebra terms include:
- Factor – The two numbers you multiply together to get a product
- Variable – A letter or symbol used to represent an unknown number
- Expression – A written relationship between numbers
- Equation – An written math problem with an equals sign
5. Does He Follow Patterns Well?
If you are not well-versed in algebra yourself, it can be challenging to know whether or not your child is excelling in 4th grade algebra. One simple trick is to practice patterns with your child. If your child is doing well at solving “what comes next” in a number or picture pattern, then algebraic understanding is likely setting in.
Next Steps . . .
What can you do if you notice a problem or if you feel your child could be excelling even more? The first step is to talk to your child’s teacher. Then, invest in some at-home learning opportunities.
Tablet-based instruction can be an effective way to teach 4th grade algebra problems. Look for a program that offers instruction from certified teachers at the point of learning and is fun and engaging for kids. Thinkster Math fits these criteria well and can give your child the best chance of success with complex math concepts. It can also give you a way to check whether your child is gaining the necessary understanding or not, with detailed reports on your child’s progress.
How is your child doing in 4th grade algebra? Let us know in the comments section below.