The key to doing well in math is to build a good foundation by knowing previously taught concept by heart before moving on to the next concept. Unlike other subjects, learning math is like building legos. The next block depends largely on the shape and size of the previous (bottom) block. If the blocks don’t match – or when previous skills learned are not grounded – then a child will get stuck at that level.
I have a second grader who is really good at math. His teacher tells me that he is always the first one to finish his math practice book in class. Since my son started kindergarten, I’ve always made sure that each math concept he learned, he knows it well by heart. In addition to his regular homework, I’ve use worksheets from Kumon, Carson-Dellosa, and education.com (link below) to help him do more practice problems.
The following are some of the math concepts that your third grader has learned. You may want to make sure he knows the concept well or get more practice.
1. addition & subtraction (borrowing and carry over; fact family, frames and arrows, coin exchange)
2. simple multiplication & division (fact family, frames and arrows)
3. fractions (which is more/less)
4. measurement (when to use miles, inches, centimeters)
5. shapes and geometric figures
6. math rules (when doing frames and arrows)
7. money/coin concept (how to pay for something; using the least amount of coins to represent, for example $0.98)
8. reading graphs and answering questions
9. word problems (write number model and solve problems)
These are the big/main concepts. There are many other concepts but having a good gasp on these concepts will pave a good foundation for going to the fourth grade.
I agree with foundations: they make the newer concepts easier to learn. Also, try playing math games as often as possible. I am not talking about sitting at the table and doing flash cards (but this can also be very beneficial), I mean playing in the car, at the store, whenever you can. When my children were learning money, I would take them to the store when I was buying just one or two items. I would tell them the price as we got in line, then I told them if they could figure out the cost before the computer, they could have the change. They got fast at adding, so we changed the rules to they could have the change if they could determine the amount of change based on the price (I would give them this number and tell them how much I was giving the cashier). As they got better at that, I started on tax or sale items (percentages). I was careful to make sure the amount of change was small enough not to be extreme, but large enough to keep their interest (30 cents to just under a dollar).
In the car, we would play "pick 2 numbers". We would each take a turn being the "number namer". This person would pick 2 numbers, then say a function (add, subtract, multiply, divide) and the other 2 would try to get to the correct answer first. I would purposely get it wrong at first to see if they were actually doing the math. Now we have homework races where they chose a problem that was not assigned and we race to see who gets it correct first. I have to admit, my daughter is in an Honors Geometry class (it's been 3 decades since I took this math), and she beats me more often than not. Next year she takes pre-calculI will be able to beat her again, at least in the beginning of the year!
Math is a life long skill: it should be solid, but also fun!
My 3rd grader is currently working with multiplication and early division. I found this activity on education.com for Play Triangle Flash, I've provided the link below. Also, I added another link to a website that provided lots of great information and a set of cards ready to print for ease of doing this activity. I think you will enjoy these and it will help your 3rd grader. I printed on card stock paper and laminated them so that we can get lots of use from them, and I also have a younger child that I wanted to save these for.
Hope this helps!
I think connecting numbers and numerical concepts with real life applications is very important. Many of my middle school students said they were better at math because they cooked, or built birdhouses, or sewed. Make cookies together with your child and write down what the recipe would be doubled, tripled, etc. Measure the perimeter of their room and pretend you are getting new carpet. How many square feet or meters will you need to buy? Money is great too. Use cash instead of your cards when you go to the store. My 4 year old granddaughter can count out the $1.53 it takes to buy a popsicle at the store. She can associate value with coins, a step towards being comfortable around numbers.