Tedious math word problems are the bane of every 4th grader’s existence, but when a child reads a creative or exciting word problem, it changes everything. Engage a child’s mind just once, and you can spark a lifelong love of math. Problems relating to concepts that your child already understands make it easier for them to understand fundamental concepts while polishing their problem-solving skills. Your 4th grader might not care about calculating the meeting point of two trains traveling at different speeds from opposite directions. Give them a word problem they can solve by playing with shapes or counting handshakes.
1. The Bottle Water Project
Challenging 4th grade math problems involves multi-step questions. Consider this one: “Your class is collecting bottled water to donate to a needy community after a tornado. The teacher wants you to collect 300 bottles of water. You brought in three packages that have six bottles in each package. Your friend brings in six packages with six bottles in each package. How many do you still need to collect?”
This problem is challenging because it involves two steps. First, the student must determine how many bottles of water have been collected. Then, they must figure out how many are left.
The students have collected 54 bottles in all. This leaves 246 water bottles to collect.
2. Finding the Perimeter or Area of Unusual Shapes
Finding the perimeter and area of standard shapes is not difficult for advanced fourth graders, as this is a foundational concept in many 4th grade math problems. To make it more challenging, create shapes that are unusual.
For example, draw an octagon made from right angles. This will create several different rectangles. To find the perimeter, your child will first need to determine the length of any unmarked sides. Then, he will need to add all eight sides together. To find the area, the student will need to break the shape into the smaller rectangles, figure the area of each of these, and then add the areas together.
3. Number of Handshakes
This word problem reads like this: “There are five people at a party. If everyone shakes hands one time with all of the other partygoers, how many handshakes occurred?”
This problem requires the student to realize that the first person shakes hands with all of the other people, creating four handshakes. However, the second person only has to shake hands with the remaining three, creating three new handshakes, followed by two for the third person and one for the fourth person. By the time the handshakes reach the final person, he will have already shaken hands with everyone in the line. So, the answer is 4+3+2+1=10. This is a challenging 4th grade math problem because it does not follow a specific formula, but requires some additional thinking.
Sometimes, coming up with challenging 4th grade math problems for a student who needs the extra enrichment is not easy. Thinkster Math can help. This teacher-designed program offers the exact level of challenge that advanced students need to stay engaged and excited about math. If you have a student who loves fourth grade math, the game-like play and personalized teaching offered by Thinkster can offer an additional math challenge. If you have a student who struggles to engage in fourth grade math, game-like play, math worksheets, and personalized teaching offered by Thinkster can offer an additional math challenge.