3rd Grade Math: How Can I Help My Child?

The 3rd grade math curriculum includes multiplication, division, arithmetic patterns, fractions, measurement (time, liquid volume, mass), area and perimeter, attributes of shapes, and problem solving and reasoning. If you feel like your 3rd grade math student could use some extra help with any of these concepts, here are 5 things that you can do to help your child master the curriculum and build math confidence.

FREE Math Video Lessons from Magoosh! Start here.

Work Together on Real-World Math Problems

Help your child understand the importance of learning math for the real-world. Your child may struggle with figuring out measurements on a worksheet, but cooking doesn’t feel like work and yields delicious results!

Have your child join you as you calculate prices at the grocery store. For instance, ask them how much 3 gallons of milk will cost if it costs $2 per gallon? Practice fractions with a pie or a quarter pound cheeseburger, or measure items around the house. Make the work hands-on so your child understands how to use math outside of the classroom.

Play Math Games Together

You can find simple math games online to help your child master various concepts. Or, make your own. A simple one that you could play in the car involves choosing a number. Then, take turns saying multiplication pairs that equal the number you chose.

Think about ways to practice the math concepts your child is struggling with as you’re on the road, waiting in line, or hanging out at home. Make it fun, so your child can practice in a stress-free way.

Read Word Problems Out Loud

Word problems often confuse young students. It can be difficult to determine what the problem is asking them to do. Help your child practice these at home. You can find grade-appropriate examples online. Then, have your child read the problem out loud. This is a great way to help your child slow down, and you can find out what your child is struggling to understand.

Work together to determine what the problem requires. In the process, you can model your thinking about it for your child. As your child gets more and more confident, make sure to help less and less. However, you could ask leading questions to help your child when he or she gets stuck.

Have Your Child Teach You

One of the most important things about 3rd grade math is learning how to think. By the end of 3rd grade, the expectation is that your child will be able to think and reason out a problem to find the solution. To help your child learn to talk about math and explain solutions, it can be helpful to have your child take the reins as the teacher. Play school with your child as the teacher. Have your child explain a topic to you. You could even get a problem wrong, so your child can explain how to find the correct answer next time.

Utilize Apps and Math Websites

Whether you’re driving to grandma’s or spending time at home, you can also use a tablet or computer for math apps and websites. Find ones that offer practice with concepts that your child needs to review. There are lots of fun ones available that will engage your child and provide the practice needed to master the concepts.

If you’re unsure where to start as you work with your child, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher. Find out how your child is doing and what resources may be available for you to help. Partnering with your child’s teacher is a great way to know more about your child’s level and what you can do to help your child get where he or she needs to be. Then, find methods that work with your child to practice and master the concepts in 3rd grade math.

FREE Math Video Lessons from Magoosh! Start here.


  • Jamie Goodwin

    Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

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