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What My 3rd Grader Needs to Know about Common Core Math
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Third grade is a huge transition year for the child gaining a solid knowledge base in many subjects. Math is no exception to this. Many times a child can get by or “fly under the radar” with math concepts in first and second grade, but hits a wall in third grade. There are many ways as a parent to assist your child in conquering Common Core Math in third grade and helping them gain the knowledge base that will aid in their educational journey.
Many parents are confused, frustrated and at a loss as to what their child is learning when it comes to Common Core Math. Today’s teaching techniques can seem very different from what parents learned when we were kids. Our math textbooks usually showed only one, maybe two ways to learn the method for finding the right answer to our problem. Frequently, that one way focused on how to do the actual math instead of understanding why it works. The best teachers have always been able to show students the “why” as well as the “how,” but this new way of teaching gives the variety of techniques a chance to shine. It is now part of the “standards,” and is not just up to the teacher to teach the variety of methods to an entire class.
What to Look For in the Backpack
A smart parent investigates; and where is the easiest place to find clues about what your child is learning? Your child’s backpack! This is the deep dark hole where crumpled up math notes or that week old assignment may be lurking. So take a minute and sift through the backpack and see what you can find.
When you find math homework in your child’s backpack, you may not know where to begin, especially if math isn’t your forte. If you aren’t sure what to look for, don’t panic or stress too much. There are many ways to make this task easier for us as parents. Here is what to look for in regards to Common Core Math and what you can do to help your third grader succeed in his or her class:
Real World Math
Look for math assignments that are actually based on real world situations or problems. For instance, your student may have a story problem listing a few different items for sale and the direction may be to see how much all of the items cost in total. Adding money amounts is a real world standard that we use constantly.
Written Answers to Math Problems
Look for assignments that require the child to show their work and explain how they got their answer.
Watch for math concepts to continue to build on one another. Students will start by mastering adding and subtracting single-digit numbers, then double digit numbers, then triple digit numbers. After they master adding and subtracting, they will move on to memorizing multiplication facts. Multiplication facts then build on multiplying double and triple digits (for example, y x 1-digit then y x 2-digits and so on). You should be able to see the direct progression in the topics that they learn. There is an awesome website, Math-Aids.Com, which allows you create math worksheets based on whatever number of digits the child is working on in the classroom. For instance, you can find worksheets for 3-digit multiplication facts or for 2-digit multiplication facts and it creates the homework sheet as well as the answer sheet. Try it out here.
Your child’s math assignments may ask him or her to explain or show their mathematical thinking. The question may ask why they believe their answer is the RIGHT one. This is very common and it may be asked over and over in different ways. Because you may see these questions asked a few times, the answer may also be the same for multiple questions. This is driving the point that the student needs to be able to explain why their answer is correct.
Look for assignments that ask the student to memorize math facts. For example, addition groupings up to 20, subtraction flash cards or multiplication facts. Frequently these assignments will be ongoing homework along with normal math worksheets. You can pick up all of these flashcards here.
3rd Grade Common Core Math Resources
Here are a few resources I have found online when trying to navigate Common Core Math.
- A complete Parent’s Guide to Third Grade Common Core Math: This handy booklet is wonderful for students and they actually have one for every grade. I printed one out for the year and put it in our homework drawer so I can have access to it whenever I need help with my child’s homework.
- Super fun Online Math Games for Third Graders: There are so many lessons and games on Common Core Math standards on this site. Adapted Mind has amazing resources not only for math, but for reading as well. This site also offers lessons and games for all grades.
- This flipbook is another great resource. It provides the Common Core mathematical concepts being taught at every grade level, but it also provides great information for third grade concepts.
If these tips and resources don’t do the trick, always feel free to contact your child’s teacher for suggestions. It is his or her job to not only help your child learn but to help you, if need be, to understand how the math skills and concepts are being taught in the classroom.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs