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Common Problems Kids Have in 3rd Grade Math and How to Fix Them

By Jim Wheelin Subscribe to RSS | January 25th 2012 | Views:

Third grade math can be difficult for some children, as they're expected to draw upon their experience from K-2 to tackle relatively complex math problems including multiplication and division. As a parent, you should work with your child during this crucial period in his or her education, as struggling kids will undoubtedly continue to struggle unless they receive encouragement, differentiated instruction and plenty of practice.

Common Problems That 3rd Graders Have with Math

Before tackling your child's math problems, it's helpful to understand the curriculum and why certain types of math lessons are difficult for young children. 3rd grade math curriculum typically includes multiplication and division, which children often struggle with. Kids will have especially pronounced problems when multiplying and dividing if they've had problems with addition and subtraction in the past or if they simply haven't spent much time practicing these basic skills. Children may also have trouble seeing the patterns in multiplication tables, which will make it much more difficult for them to keep up with their classmates. Multiplication tables can be difficult to approach and kids who understand the relationship between division and multiplication will be able to absorb lessons much more easily.

Most 3rd grade classrooms will also work with three-digit numbers, which can be confusing to some children. These problems are often detected when young children are asked to perform estimations, which is a regular part of 3rd grade math courses.

Practicing 3rd Grade Math Lessons At Home

The best way to treat many math problems is to first find the source of the problem and to adapt the instruction to concentrate on weak areas. Regular at-home math practice is absolutely critical during the first few years of a child's education, as at-home practice will serve to reinforce concepts and to allow children to move along at a faster pace. Practice is especially important during the holidays, the summer and during other breaks in a child's school year.

Online math software can be an effective way to practice at home, as math programs provide a steady source of new problems for children. Many modern math programs also use adaptive learning techniques to automatically change the types of problems that the child sees to adapt to his or her strengths and weaknesses. Your child will be consistently challenged and encouraged, which should lead to steady improvement.

At the same time, past lessons will occasionally be revisited. This prevents your child from forgetting basic concepts that will be used in future lessons, thereby making every subsequent lesson somewhat easier.

Tracking Progress and Introducing New Lessons

Math programs can also generate charts for teachers and parents that show a child's progress over time. By using these charts, parents can spot math lessons that might benefit from different instruction techniques and discuss this with teachers.

There's also a more tangible benefit to math software for 3rd grade kids. Young children enjoy working with computers, and by using math software at home and in the classroom, you'll be helping your child stay interested in his or her education. Learning math can be a very positive experience. This is one of the most powerful gifts that parents can give to their kids and certainly one of the most effective ways to treat the various problems that young children have with mathematics.

Jim Wheelin - About Author:
Jim Wheelin writes about many different educational topics for parents and kids. Recently, he has started using computer games to supplement 3rd grade math lessons. Jim also likes to test interactive educational resources such as

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