What Math Is Taught In Fourth Grade?

Written by Dan

Welcome to the world of fourth-grade math! Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? Don’t worry – we’ve got your back. From basic geometry to fraction operations and beyond, fourth grade can involve some pretty complicated math concepts. But don’t let that scare you away. Teaching these mathematical ideas is not only manageable, but it can also be a lot of fun if you approach it with the right attitude. So get out your calculator and a few number 2 pencils and let’s explore exactly what math is taught in fourth grade!

Overview of Fourth Grade Math Curriculum

The fourth grade math curriculum focuses on building a strong foundation in various mathematical concepts, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. It is designed to help students develop their understanding of key mathematical ideas and apply them in real-world situations. The curriculum is typically structured around the following core areas:

1. Number and Operations

In fourth grade, students strengthen their understanding of numbers and their relationships. They will:

  • Work with multi-digit whole numbers up to one million, including comparing, rounding, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
  • Explore factors and multiples, and understand prime and composite numbers.
  • Develop an understanding of fractions, including equivalent fractions, comparing fractions, and finding common denominators.
  • Begin to work with decimals, including comparing, rounding, and performing basic operations (addition and subtraction) with decimals.

2. Algebraic Thinking and Operations

Fourth graders delve deeper into algebraic concepts, learning to:

  • Recognize and extend patterns, as well as analyze and create rules for number sequences.
  • Understand the concept of variables and expressions, using them to represent unknown quantities in simple equations.
  • Solve multi-step word problems involving the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) with whole numbers and fractions.

3. Geometry

Geometry concepts become more advanced in fourth grade, as students:

  • Identify, compare, and classify two-dimensional shapes based on their properties, such as angles, lines of symmetry, and parallel or perpendicular lines.
  • Measure angles using a protractor and understand the concept of angle measurement.
  • Explore concepts of perimeter and area, including finding the area of rectangles and irregular shapes.

4. Measurement and Data

Students in fourth grade expand their understanding of measurement and data, learning to:

  • Understand units of measurement, including length, mass, volume, and time, and convert between different units within the same system (e.g., inches to feet, grams to kilograms).
  • Work with line plots, bar graphs, and other data representation tools to analyze and interpret data.
  • Solve problems involving distance, elapsed time, liquid volume, and mass.

5. Problem Solving and Mathematical Reasoning

Throughout the fourth grade math curriculum, students are encouraged to develop problem-solving skills and mathematical reasoning. They will:

  • Apply various strategies to solve multi-step word problems, including using estimation, drawing diagrams, and working backwards.
  • Communicate their mathematical thinking through writing, verbal explanations, and visual representations.
  • Collaborate with peers to discuss and justify their solutions to mathematical problems.

By the end of fourth grade, students should have a solid understanding of these core mathematical concepts, preparing them for more advanced topics in fifth grade and beyond.

Exploring Place Value and Addition Strategies 

In fourth grade, students delve deeper into mathematical concepts, developing a stronger understanding of place value and addition strategies. This stage is crucial in building a solid foundation for more advanced math topics in the future. Let’s explore some essential place value concepts and addition strategies that fourth graders should learn.

Place Value

Place value is the value of a digit based on its position within a number. In our base-10 number system, each digit’s value increases by a factor of 10 as we move from right to left. For example, in the number 4,321:

  • 1 is in the ones place (10^0),
  • 2 is in the tens place (10^1),
  • 3 is in the hundreds place (10^2), and
  • 4 is in the thousands place (10^3).

Understanding place value helps students accurately read, write, and compare numbers. It also lays the groundwork for addition and subtraction strategies.

Expanded Form

One way to reinforce place value understanding is by writing numbers in expanded form. In expanded form, a number is expressed as the sum of its digits multiplied by their respective place values. For example, the expanded form of 4,321 is:

4,000 + 300 + 20 + 1

By breaking down a number into its components, students can visualize the value of each digit and better grasp the concept of place value.

Addition Strategies

Once students understand place value well, they can apply this knowledge to various addition strategies. Here are some common addition strategies taught in fourth grade:


Also known as carrying, regrouping is a method used when adding numbers with multiple digits. In this process, if the sum of digits in a specific place exceeds 9, the excess is carried over to the next higher place value. For example, when adding 387 + 498:

  3 8 7
+ 4 9 8

Starting from the right, we add the ones place first (7 + 8 = 15). Since the sum exceeds 9, we write down the 5 and carry over the 1 to the tens place. Then, we add the tens place digits (8 + 9 + 1 = 18), writing down the 8 and carrying over the 1 to the hundreds place. Finally, we add the hundreds place digits (3 + 4 + 1 = 8) and write down the result. The final sum is 885.

Partial Sums

The partial sums method involves breaking down the numbers into their place values, adding them separately, and then combining the results. For example, when adding 387 + 498:

  1. Add the hundreds place: 300 + 400 = 700
  2. Add the tens place: 80 + 90 = 170
  3. Add the ones place: 7 + 8 = 15
  4. Combine the partial sums: 700 + 170 + 15 = 885


Compensation is a strategy that involves adjusting one or both of the numbers being added to make the calculation easier. For example, when adding 387 + 498, we can round 498 up to 500 and subtract the extra 2 later:

  1. Add the rounded numbers: 387 + 500 = 887
  2. Subtract the compensation: 887 - 2 = 885

Focusing on Multiplication & Division Facts in Fourth Grade

In fourth grade, students continue to build upon their mathematical foundation by mastering multiplication and division facts. This crucial stage in their education provides them with the necessary tools to tackle more complex mathematical concepts in the future. By focusing on multiplication and division facts, students improve their arithmetic skills and develop a deeper understanding of number relationships and patterns.

Importance of Mastering Multiplication & Division Facts

  1. Foundation for Advanced Math Concepts: Multiplication and division are the building blocks for more advanced math concepts, such as fractions, decimals, and algebra. By mastering these facts, students are better equipped to handle more complex mathematical challenges in the future.
  2. Enhances Problem-Solving Skills: A strong grasp of multiplication and division facts enables students to solve problems more efficiently and accurately. This skill is essential for success in various aspects of their academic and professional lives.
  3. Boosts Confidence: As students become more proficient in multiplication and division, they gain confidence in their mathematical abilities. This increased self-assurance encourages them to tackle more challenging problems and further develop their skills.

Strategies for Teaching Multiplication & Division Facts

  1. Use Visual Aids: Incorporate visual aids, such as arrays, number lines, and area models, to help students understand the concept of multiplication and division. These visuals can make abstract concepts more tangible and easier to comprehend.
  2. Teach Fact Families: Introduce fact families to demonstrate the relationship between multiplication and division. For example, if 4 x 5 = 20, then 20 ÷ 5 = 4 and 20 ÷ 4 = 5. This approach helps students see the connection between the two operations and reinforces their understanding of both.
  3. Practice with Games: Engage students with interactive games that focus on multiplication and division facts. These games can make learning more enjoyable and motivate students to practice their skills.
  4. Encourage Mental Math Strategies: Teach students mental math strategies, such as using doubles, skip counting, and breaking numbers into smaller parts. These techniques can help them quickly calculate multiplication and division facts in their heads.
  5. Provide Regular Practice: Regular practice is essential for mastering multiplication and division facts. Provide students with daily opportunities to practice their skills through worksheets, quizzes, or online resources.

Supporting Students’ Progress

  1. Monitor Progress: Regularly assess students’ progress to identify areas where they may need additional support or practice.
  2. Differentiate Instruction: Tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of each student. Provide targeted support and scaffolding for struggling learners, while challenging advanced students with more complex problems.
  3. Celebrate Success: Recognize and celebrate students’ achievements in mastering multiplication and division facts. This positive reinforcement motivates them to continue developing their skills.

Gaining Fraction Knowledge 

Introducing Fractions

In fourth grade, students are introduced to the concept of fractions as a way to represent parts of a whole. They learn about numerators and denominators, which are the two components of a fraction. The numerator represents the number of equal parts being considered, while the denominator represents the total number of equal parts that make up the whole.

For example, in the fraction 3/4, the numerator is 3, and the denominator is 4. This means that we are considering 3 out of 4 equal parts of the whole.

Understanding Equivalent Fractions

One of the critical concepts in gaining fraction knowledge is understanding equivalent fractions. Equivalent fractions are different fractions that represent the same value or proportion. For example, 1/2 is equal to 2/4, 3/6, and 4/8. Students learn to identify equivalent fractions by multiplying or dividing the numerator and denominator by the same number.

Comparing and Ordering Fractions

Another essential skill in fourth-grade fraction knowledge is comparing and ordering fractions. Students learn to compare fractions with the same denominator by simply comparing the numerators. When fractions have different denominators, students can find a common denominator to make it easier to compare the fractions.

For example, when comparing 2/3 and 3/4, students can find a common denominator (12) and rewrite the fractions as 8/12 and 9/12, making it clear that 3/4 is larger than 2/3.

Adding and Subtracting Fractions

Fourth-grade students also learn to perform basic arithmetic with fractions, specifically addition and subtraction. To add or subtract fractions with the same denominator, students simply add or subtract the numerators while keeping the same denominator.

For example, 2/5 + 3/5 = 5/5, and 4/7 – 2/7 = 2/7.

When adding or subtracting fractions with different denominators, students must first find a common denominator and then perform the operation.

Simplifying Fractions

Simplifying fractions is another important skill that fourth-grade students learn. Simplifying a fraction involves reducing it to its simplest form by dividing both the numerator and denominator by their greatest common divisor.

For example, the fraction 6/8 can be simplified to 3/4 by dividing both the numerator and denominator by 2.

Learning Geometric Shapes & Measurement in Fourth Grade

Fourth grade is an exciting time for students as they delve deeper into the world of mathematics, particularly in geometric shapes and measurement. This stage of learning is crucial as it sets the foundation for more advanced mathematical concepts in the future.

Geometric Shapes

In fourth grade, students expand their knowledge of basic geometric shapes, moving beyond simple shapes like squares, circles, and triangles to explore more complex shapes such as parallelograms, rhombuses, and trapezoids. They also learn about three-dimensional shapes like cubes, rectangular prisms, pyramids, and spheres. Here are some of the main concepts students should grasp:

  1. Classification of shapes: Students should be able to identify, classify, and describe various two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes based on their properties, such as the number of sides, angles, and vertices.
  2. Symmetry: Fourth graders should understand the concept of symmetry and be able to identify lines of symmetry in different shapes.
  3. Angles: Students need to learn about different types of angles, such as acute, obtuse, and right angles, as well as how to measure angles using a protractor.
  4. Congruence and similarity: At this stage, learners should be able to recognize congruent and similar shapes and understand the difference between them.


In addition to geometric shapes, fourth-grade students should also develop a strong understanding of measurement concepts. These include:

  1. Length, width, and height: Students should be comfortable measuring the length, width, and height of objects using appropriate units (inches, feet, centimeters, etc.) and tools (rulers, tape measures, etc.).
  2. Area and perimeter: Students need to learn how to calculate the area and perimeter of various shapes, such as rectangles, squares, and triangles. They should also understand the concept of square units.
  3. Volume: Fourth graders should be able to find the volume of three-dimensional shapes like cubes and rectangular prisms by counting or multiplying the number of unit cubes that make up the shape.
  4. Units of measurement: Students should become familiar with both the metric and customary systems of measurement and be able to convert between units within each system (e.g., inches to feet, centimeters to meters).
  5. Time and temperature: In fourth grade, students should continue developing their understanding of time, including reading analog and digital clocks, and measuring elapsed time. They should also be able to measure and compare temperatures using Fahrenheit and Celsius scales.

Mastering geometric shapes and measurement concepts in fourth grade will prepare students to tackle more advanced math topics in the coming years. Teachers and parents can support this learning process by providing engaging activities, hands-on experiences, and real-world examples that help students see the relevance of these concepts in their everyday lives.

Discovering Probability & Data Analysis Concepts in Fourth Grade

Probability and data analysis are essential skills that help children make sense of the world around them. By introducing these concepts at a young age, such as in fourth grade, students can develop a strong foundation in mathematics and critical thinking.


Probability is the measure of how likely an event is to occur. It is expressed as a number between 0 and 1, with 0 meaning that the event is impossible and 1 meaning that it is certain. In fourth grade, students can begin understanding probability basics through simple activities and examples. Some key concepts include:

  1. Simple events: These are events with only one outcome, such as flipping a coin (heads or tails) or rolling a die (numbers 1 to 6). Students can learn how to calculate the probability of a simple event by dividing the number of successful outcomes by the total number of possible outcomes.
  2. Compound events: These events involve multiple simple events happening together, such as flipping two coins simultaneously. Fourth graders can learn how to find the probability of compound events by multiplying the probabilities of each simple event.
  3. Experimental probability: This type of probability is based on the results of an experiment or observation. For example, if a student flips a coin 10 times and it lands on heads 7 times, the experimental probability of getting heads is 7/10 or 0.7. This helps students understand that probabilities can change based on real-world observations.

Data Analysis

Data analysis involves collecting, organizing, and interpreting information to make informed decisions. Fourth-grade students can learn data analysis concepts through activities that help them understand different types of data and how to represent them visually. Key concepts include:

  1. Data collection: Students can learn how to collect data through surveys, experiments, or observations. For example, they might record the number of students walking, biking, or taking a bus to school.
  2. Organizing data: Once data is collected, students can learn how to organize it to make it easier to analyze. This can involve creating charts or tables to display the data.
  3. Graphs and charts: Fourth graders can learn about different types of graphs and charts, such as bar graphs, line graphs, and pie charts. They can practice creating these visual representations to help them better understand the data.
  4. Interpreting data: Students should be encouraged to analyze their collected data and look for patterns, trends, and relationships. This can help them make predictions, draw conclusions, and develop problem-solving skills.

In fourth grade, students can develop a solid foundation in mathematics and critical thinking by introducing probability and data analysis concepts. Engaging activities and real-world examples can help make these concepts more accessible and enjoyable for young learners, setting them up for success in future math courses and beyond.

FAQ Fourth Grade Math

1. What topics are covered in fourth grade math?

In fourth grade math, students typically learn about place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, decimals, geometry, measurement, and data analysis.

2. How can I help my child succeed in fourth grade math?

To help your child succeed in fourth grade math, you can:
Encourage a positive attitude towards math.
Provide a quiet and comfortable space for them to complete their homework.
Review math concepts regularly with them.
Use everyday situations to practice math skills, such as shopping, cooking, and measuring.
Play math games and use online resources to make learning fun and engaging.

3. What is the importance of learning multiplication and division in fourth grade?

Multiplication and division are essential operations that students need to master in fourth grade. These skills will be used throughout their school years and in daily life. Mastering multiplication and division helps students build a strong foundation for more advanced math concepts like fractions, decimals, and algebra.

4. How can I help my child understand fractions?

To help your child understand fractions, you can:
Use visuals like fraction bars, pie charts, and number lines.
Relate fractions to real-life situations, such as dividing a pizza or measuring ingredients for a recipe.
Practice comparing and ordering fractions with different denominators.
Encourage your child to find equivalent fractions by multiplying or dividing the numerator and denominator by the same number.

5. What are some strategies for solving word problems?

When solving word problems, students can use these strategies:
Read the problem carefully and identify the important information.
Determine the operation needed to solve the problem (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division).
Write an equation using the given information.
Solve the equation and check the answer to make sure it makes sense in the context of the problem.

6. How can I help my child improve their math fluency?

To help your child improve their math fluency, you can:
Practice basic math facts regularly, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Use flashcards or online games to make practicing fun.
Encourage your child to use mental math strategies, like rounding numbers or breaking down larger problems into smaller parts.
Set a timer and challenge your child to complete a set of problems within a certain time limit.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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