Fourth Grade Tips for Parents

The upper years in elementary school deepen students’ skills in all subjects in preparation for middle school. The curriculum is based on the Iowa Core standards and focuses on key concepts in mathematics, literacy, science, social studies, and 21st Century skills. Learn more about the Iowa Core standards for fourth grade.

As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to stay engaged in their learning. Each day, take time to ask your child about their school day. Ask open-ended questions to encourage interaction. Then, you can build on their daily learning with some of the activities suggested on this webpage.

You can also view suggested learning resources for students. These learning resources offer both digital activities and printable practice materials.


Look for “word problems” in real life. Some fourth grade examples might include:

  • Ask your child to compare numbers using such phrases as “times as much.” For example, if the family cat weighs 8 lbs. and the family dog weighs 56 lbs., how many times as much does the dog weigh?
  • Ask your child to help you compare fractional amounts. For example, if one recipe calls for 2⁄3 of a cup of oil, but another recipe calls for ¾ of a cup of oil, which recipe calls for more oil? (In 5th grade, your child will learn ways to determine exactly just how much more oil.)

English Language Arts & Literacy

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Urge your child to use logical arguments to defend his or her opinion. If your child wants a raise in allowance, ask him or her to research commonsense allowance systems and, based on that research, explain the reasons why an increase is warranted, supported by facts and details.
  • Talk about the news together. Pick one story in the news, read it together, and discuss with your child what it means.
  • Keep books, magazines, and newspapers at home. Make sure your child sees you reading.


How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Have your child collect items found in nature such as rocks, leaves, insects, plants, or seeds. Encourage your child to develop questions about those items and help him/her find answers to those questions either through investigations, by reading nonfiction texts, or by asking appropriate experts.
  • Utilize programs offered by your county nature center to identify rock formations and fossils.
  • Take a nature walk through your neighborhood, visit parks and hiking, biking, and cross-country trails. Observe how animals use their senses to respond to information from their environment.
  • Identify examples of how water, ice, wind, and vegetation have changed or can change the land. Ask your child to consider what things humans have done to lessen the impact of those changes.

Social Studies

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Frequently ask your child about what they are reading. Seek out social studies-related books, both fiction action and non- fiction. Check your local library or the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade Book List at for suggestions of books to read.
  • Visit museums and cultural institutions such as Living History Farms or the World Food Prize. Discuss how technological change has influenced Iowa’s agriculture over time.
  • Discuss the prices of various goods and services and why sometimes the prices of those goods and services rise and fall.
  • Discuss financial responsibility and concepts such as saving, spending, budgeting, etc.
  • Explain why and how the enforcement of laws helps society.
  • Visit a farm, farmer’s market, or pumpkin patch. Talk about what agriculture industries exist in Iowa.

21st Century Skills

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read with your child from books with 21st Century skills content. Examples: Jobs People Do series by DK publishing; The Marvels of Money for Kids series by Paul Nourigat.
  • Help your child select physical activities to keep moving and have fun.
  • Show your child how to appropriately use technology to find games, activities, and information.

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).
Read the complete standards at