Students in fourth grade are gaining an awareness of themselves as distinct individuals. While working in a variety of active learning environments involving concrete learning experiences, students continue to perform well as they deepen their understanding of mathematics. Verbal communication is vital in helping them progress in their ability to use abstract reasoning and higher-order thinking skills and to determine cause-and-effect relationships.
Fourth-grade students need and respond well to encouragement. Therefore, it is important they be provided a supportive, positive learning environment in which they are actively engaged and work cooperatively and productively to solve problems. In this environment high expectations for student achievement should be communicated and value placed on quality work.
Content standards for fourth grade are designed to allow students to learn mathematics concepts with understanding. Learning with understanding makes subsequent learning easier as students are better able to connect new knowledge to existing knowledge. Learning with understanding also allows students to enhance problem-solving skills and become more adept in computational skills. According to the NCTM, development of a balance of and a connection between conceptual understanding and computational proficiency is necessary for students to achieve computational fluency.
Content in fourth grade builds upon basic number sense and operations skills. Students in fourth grade extend their computational skills to include fluency with multiplication and division. In addition to describing patterns and relationships, students explore geometric and spatial reasoning. Students in this grade are extending their measurement skills to include volume, capacity, mass, and weight in both metric and customary systems. Students also learn to represent categorical and numerical data using a variety of graphs.