The new school year is around the corner and Spark Math by Spark Education wants to make sure kids are ready! Returning after an exciting summer vacation can be a struggle for some students who deal with summer learning loss. Summer learning loss, or the “Summer slide”, refers to students’ loss of some of their educational concepts due to lack of practice during a long vacation. In this new blog series, Spark Math goes over some of the most important math concepts kids should know before returning to school. Here are the “Math kids should know before 3rd Grade.”
3rd Grade and Math
3rd grade math is the next important step in math learning. This year marks the shift from simple addition and subtraction to multiplication and division. With these new skills, students are ready to take on more complex equations and word problems. By the end of 3rd grade, students should have mastered several critical math concepts that serve as the foundation for future learning and the basis to branch out and handle more complex material. Be prepared with these skills your kids should know before entering 3rd grade.
1. Numbers, Addition, and Subtraction
3rd Grade is when students begin learning multiplication and division skills. To be prepared for these new concepts, students should have a strong grasp of addition and subtraction up to the number 100. This includes understanding the ones, tens, and hundreds places in 3-digit numbers. Multiplication and division are skills built upon early concepts like addition and subtraction. Multiplication equations start having larger answers, so it’s important students going into 3rd grade are able to count to 1000.
Word problems are a practical way for kids to take the math skills they have and put them in real world situations. In 3rd grade, word problems become more complex and multi-layered. Heading into 3rd grade students should be able to do word problems with at least 2 steps.
These multi-step problems are a great way to use more than one skill to solve a larger problem. These skills help kids adjust to using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and are a great intro to the order of operations (PEMDAS). This acronym, which stands for “Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication & Division, Addition & Subtraction,” helps kids known what order calculate more complex equations.
Ways to use numbers, addition, and subtraction:
- Add and subtract using larger numbers outside the classroom.
Examples: Add up the days before a vacation or holiday, then count down to that date. Add up the ages of family members and use subtraction to find out how much older/younger family members are.
- Create word problems out of real situations that require at least 2 steps to solve as 3rd graders move to multi-step word problems.
Examples: Create two different dishes for dinner that use some of the same ingredients. Add up the total ingredients needed for dinner, based on the recipes.
2. Time, Size, and Geometry
As kids get older, they are taught to describe the world around them in more accurate and specific ways that are universally understood. Upon beginning 3rd grade, students should know more precise ways to measure. In regard to time, students should be able to tell time to the closest 5 minutes. This brings students close to understanding accurate time both digitally and analog. Telling time will play a critical role as kids get older and have schedules to follow.
3rd graders are learning how to measure objects in different ways, using measuring tools to calculate volume, area, length, and height. In the United States, we use the imperial forms of measurement (inches, feet, pounds) and most other countries use the metric system (meters, grams). US students should have a strong understanding of both systems.
3rd graders also start to work with simple fractions and decimals. In 2nd grade, students start to develop the understanding that “whole”objects can be separated into “parts”. Understanding concepts like “half” or a “quarter” of an object is key to the math students will do in 3rd grade. This introduction not only helps kids understand that objects can be broken down, but will help concepts like division, fractions, decimals, and percentages.
Ways to use time, size, and geometry:
- Keep track of your day with time.
Examples: Create a schedule based on time to the nearest 5 minutes, trying to stay away from the top of the hour or half hour.
- Measure objects in different systems
Examples: When using rulers or thermometers, pay attention to all the measurement systems you can measure in. Take note of both ways. Measure your height in both units.
- Break items into different parts
Examples: Create paper shapes and cut them into halves, thirds, and quarters. Measure the shapes and divide the size equally to get the proper proportions. Show how food can be broken down into parts by how you cut a sandwich, pizza, or cake.
Understanding money, and how it breaks down, is a skill people use every day. In 3rd grade, students go in-depth with how to use money in real and educational ways. To be prepared, kids should know the value of paper and coin money, money equivalences (2 nickels = a dime), and be able to solve math problems that involve money. These 2nd grade skills will help students ace the more complex money-based math that comes with the new school year.
Ways to use Money:
- Add and Subtract using money every day.
Examples: Make a budget for snacks and stick to it. Take a final price from dinner at a restaurant and subtract how much each person’s meal was.
- Use coins and bills to create equivalencies
Examples: Start a piggy bank and at the end of the month replace the coins with bills. Go through coins to see how much money it is in bills.
Be ready for the new school year with Spark Math
Starting 3rd at a full run rather than a crawl will help your student set the tone for the entire year. Spark Math’s 2nd grade Mastery Program will cover all the essentials of 2nd grade math in a fun, gamification-based class. For students looking to jump ahead of the curve, the 2nd grade challenge class will have them well into 3rd grade level math. All courses are aligned to the Common Core Standard and will seamlessly apply to classroom math. We cover everything discussed here and much more!
Getting over Summer Slide can be tough for kids as they enter a new year in school. Spark Math is an education program perfect for helping kids use the skill they learned all year in fun and engaging ways. Available for students from Pre-k to 6th grade, Spark Math’s online program features online classes, gamified lessons, and a real experienced teacher. Try it for yourself by signing up to try a free demo class today!
Want to find out what your student should know before entering the new school year? Check out our Spark Math blog for great news and activities the whole family can enjoy. Check out our Pinterest Page for more fun activities!