Students start to operate on fractions, learning how to add fractions with like denominators and multiply a whole number by any fraction.
The scope and sequence for 4th Grade Math was adjusted in August 2021. We moved Shapes and Angles to the end of the 4th grade sequence, so while this was previously Unit 6, it is now Unit 5. Learn more about this update.
In this unit, students begin their work with operating with fractions by understanding them as a sum of unit fractions or a product of a whole number and a unit fraction. Students will then add fractions with like denominators and multiply a whole number by any fraction. Students will apply this knowledge to word problems and line plots.
In Grade 3, students developed their understanding of the meaning of fractions, especially using the number line to make sense of fractions as numbers themselves. They also did some rudimentary work with equivalent fractions and comparison of fractions. In Grade 4 Unit 4, they deepened this understanding of equivalence and comparison, learning the fundamental property that “multiplying the numerator and denominator of a fraction by the same nonzero whole number results in a fraction that represents the same number as the original fraction” (NF Progression, p. 6).
Thus, in this unit, armed with a deep understanding of fractions and their value, students start to operate on them for the first time. The unit is structured so that students build their understanding of fraction operations gradually, first working with the simplest case where the total is a fraction less than 1, then the case where the total is a fraction between 1 and 2 (to understand regrouping when operating in simple cases), and finally the case where the total is a fraction greater than 2. With each of these numerical cases, they first develop an understanding of nonunit fractions as sums and multiples of unit fractions. Next, they learn to add and subtract fractions. And finally, they apply these understandings to complex cases, such as word problems or fraction addition involving fractions where one denominator is a divisor of the other, which helps prepare students for similar work with decimal fractions in Unit 6. After working with all three numerical cases in the context of fraction addition and subtraction, they work with fraction multiplication, learning strategies for multiplying a whole number by a fraction and a mixed number and using those skills in the context of word problems. Finally, students apply this unit’s work to the context of line plots. Students will solve problems by using information presented in line plots, requiring them to use their recently acquired skills of fraction addition, subtraction, and even multiplication, creating a contextual way for this supporting cluster content to support the major work of the grade. The unit provides lots of opportunity for students to reason abstractly and quantitatively (MP.2) and construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others (MP.3).
Students’ understanding of fractions is developed further in Unit 6, in which students explore decimal numbers via their relationship to decimal fractions, expressing a given quantity in both fraction and decimal forms (4.NF.5—7). Then, in Grade 5, students extend their understanding and ability with operations with fractions (5.NF.1—7), working on all cases of fraction addition, subtraction, and multiplication and the simple cases of division of a unit fraction by a whole number or vice versa. Students then develop a comprehensive understanding of and ability to compute fraction division problems in all cases in Grade 6 (6.NS.1). Beyond these next few units and years, it is easy to find the application of this learning in nearly any mathematical subject in middle school and high school, from ratios and proportions in the middle grades to functional understanding in algebra.
Pacing: 25 instructional days (22 lessons, 2 flex days, 1 assessment day)
For guidance on adjusting the pacing for the 20212022 school year, see our 4th Grade Scope and Sequence Recommended Adjustments.
This assessment accompanies Unit 5 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
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area model  Example: Use an area model to solve $$\frac{3}{6}+\frac{2}{6}$$. 
number line  Example: Use a number line to solve $$\frac{7}{8}\frac{3}{8}$$.

tape diagram  Example: Use a tape diagram to solve $$2\times \frac{3}{10}$$.

line plot 
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mixed number
fraction greater than one
To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 4th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
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With Fishtank Plus you can access our Daily Word Problem Practice and our contentaligned Fluency Activities created to help students strengthen their application and fluency skills.
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