18 Math Word Problems For 4th Grade: Develop Their Problem Solving Skills Across Single and Mixed Upper Elementary Topics

4th grade math word problems are a great way to assess students’ number fluency. By the time elementary school children reach upper elementary they will be building on their knowledge and understanding of the number system and place value, working with larger integers. An increased understanding of the connections between the different math concepts is crucial, as children will be expected to tackle more complex, multi-step problems.

It is important children are regularly provided with the opportunity to solve a range of word problems with reasoning and problem solving incorporated alongside fluency, into all lessons.

To help you with this, we have put together a collection of 18 word problems aimed at 4th grade math students.

Place value 

Solve number and practical problems involving ordering and comparing numbers to at least 1,00,000; counting forwards or backwards in steps of powers of 10; interpreting negative numbers in context and rounding to the nearest 10,100, 1000, 10,000 and 100,000.

Addition and subtraction 

Solve addition and subtraction word problems and a combination of these, including understanding the meaning of the equals sign.

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Multiplication and division 

Solve problems involving multiplication and division, including using knowledge of factors, multiples, squares and cubes and scaling by simple fractions.

Fractions, decimals and percentages

Solve problems involving numbers up to 3 decimal places and problems which require knowing percentage and decimal equivalents.

Measurement 

Solve time word problems and those involving converting between units of time and problems involving measure (for example, length, mass, volume and money word problems) using decimal notation and scaling.

Statistics

Solve comparison, sum and difference problems, using information presented in a line graph.

Why are word problems important in 4th grade math?

Word problems are an important element of the 4th grade curriculum. By this stage, children need to be building confidence in approaching a range of one, two and multi-step word problems. They require children to be creative and apply the skills they have learnt to a range of real-life situations. 

How to teach problem solving in 4th grade 

Children need to be taught the skills for successfully approaching and tackling word problems. Reading the question carefully and identifying the key information needed to tackle the problem, is the first step, followed by identifying which calculations are required for solving it and deciding whether it will be helpful to draw a picture/ visual representation to understand and answer the question. 

Using mental math skills to round and estimate an answer is also very helpful for children to establish whether their final answer is realistic. Children need to also be able to calculate the inverse, to be able to check their answer, once the problem has been completed.

See also: Mental math year 5

Here is an example:

A transport museum has 1243 visitors on Monday morning and another 1387 visitors in the afternoon. On Tuesday 736 fewer visitors go to the museum than who visited on Monday.

How many visitors were there altogether on Tuesday?

How to solve:

What do you already know?

  • The number of visitors on Monday morning and Monday afternoon are given separately. They need to be added together to give the total number of visitors for Monday.
  • ‘Fewer’ means I will need to subtract the number of fewer visitors on Tuesday from the total number of visitors on Monday.
  • Column addition and subtraction will be needed to solve this question.

How can this be drawn/represented visually?

We can draw a bar model to represent this problem:

visual representation of above question
  • To calculate the total number of visitors on Monday, we need to add 1243 and 1387 together. 1243 + 1387 = 2630
  • The number of fewer visitors on Tuesday needs to be subtracted from Monday’s total: 2630 – 736 = 1894.
  • The total number of visitors on Tuesday was 1894.

Addition word problems for 4th grade

In 4th grade, addition word problems can involve whole numbers with over 4 digits and decimal numbers. Children should be able to round number to check the accuracy and begin to solve two step number problems 

Addition question 1

Gemma picks two cards from the cards below and adds them together.
She is able to make three different totals. What will they be?

2365     6281      9782

Answer (2 marks): 12,147   16,063  8646

visual representation of answer

Addition question 2

Ahmed adds two of these numbers mentally.

357         280          294          232

In his calculation, he exchanges twice to create one ten and one hundred.
Write Ahmed’s calculation and work out the total.

Answer (1 mark): 357 + 294 = 651

visual representation of above answer

Addition question 3

Change one digit in the calculation below, so that the answer is a multiple of 10.

726 + 347

Answer (1 mark): 723 + 347 = 1070

Subtraction word problems for 4th grade

Subtraction word problems in 4th grade require learners to be confident subtracting numbers over 4 digits and problems involving decimal numbers. Students need to be able to round numbers to check accuracy and to use subtraction when solving mixed word problems. 

Subtraction question 1

A coach is traveling 4924 km across the USA
It has 2476 km to go.
How many kilometers has the coach already traveled?

Answer (1 mark): 2448 km

visual of answer to above question

Subtraction question 2

An elementary school printed 7283 math worksheets in the Summer semester. 2156 were for lower elementary students. How many were printed for upper elementary?

Answer (1 mark): 5127 worksheets

visual of above answer

Subtraction question 3

 A clothing company made $57,605 profit in 2021 and $73,403 in 2022.
How much more profit did the company make in 2022 than in 2021?

Answer (1 mark): $15,798

visual of above answer

 Multiplication word problems for 4th grade

In 4th grade, multiplication word problems include problems involving times tables and multiplying whole numbers up to 4-digits by 1 or 2-digit numbers. Students also need to be able to combine multiplication with other operations, in order to solve two-step word problems. 

Multiplication question 1

In this diagram, the numbers in the circles are multiplied together to make the answer in the square between them.

Complete the missing numbers.

visual of above question

Answer (1 mark)

visual of above answer

Multiplication question 2

Mrs Jones was printing the end of year math test. Each test had 18 pages and 89 students were sitting the test. Mrs Jones also needed to print out 12 copies for the teachers and Teaching Assistants who were helping to run the test. 

How many pieces of paper did Mrs Jones need to put in the photocopier, to make sure she had enough for all the tests?

Answer (1 mark)

visual of above answer

Multiplication question 3

A school is booking a trip to Six Flags. Tickets cost $22 per student.
There are 120 children in each grade level and all the children from 3 grade levels will be going.

What will be the total price for all the tickets?

Answer (2 marks): $7920

visual of above answer

Third Space Learning often ties word problems into our online one-to-one tutoring. Each lesson is personalized to the needs of the individual student, growing math knowledge and problem solving skills.

Lesson slide showing multi step word problem

Division word problems for 4th grade

In 4th grade, division word problems can involve whole numbers up to 4 digits being divided by 1-digit numbers. Students need to understand how to answer word problems, when the answer involves a remainder.

Division question 1

Tom has 96 cubes and makes 12 equal towers.
Masie has 63 cubes and makes 9 equal towers.
Whose towers are tallest and by how many cubes?

Answer (2 marks): Tom

Tom’s tower has more cubes. His towers have 1 more cube than Maise’s towers.

96 ÷ 12 = 8

63 ÷ 9 = 7

Division question 2

A cake factory has made cakes to deliver to a large event.
265 cakes have been baked. How many boxes of 8 cakes can be delivered to the event?

Answer (2 marks): 33 boxes.

visual of above answer

Division question 3

Lily collected 1256 stickers. She shared them between her 8 friends. How many stickers did each friend get

Answer (1 mark): 157 stickers

visual of above answer

Fraction and decimal word problems in 4th grade

In 4th grade, fractions word problems and decimals can include questions involving ordering, addition and subtraction of fractions. They can also involve converting between fractions and decimals. 

Fraction and decimal question 1

Isobel collected 24 conkers.
She gave \frac{1}{8} of the conkers to her brother.
How many conkers did she have left?

Answer (1 mark): 21 conkers left

\frac{1}{8} of 24 = 3

24 – 4 = 21

Fraction and decimal question 2

Ahmed counted out 32 candies. He gave \frac{1}{4} of the sweets to his brother and \frac{3}{8} of the candies to his friend.
How many candies did he have left?

Answer (2 marks): 12 candies 

\frac{1}{4} of 32 = 8

\frac{3}{8} of 32 = 12

He gave away 20 candies, so had 12 left for himself.

Fraction and decimal question 3

Two friends shared some pizzas, 1 ate 1 \frac{1}{2} pizzas, whilst the other ate \frac{5}{8} of a pizza. How much did they eat altogether?

2 \frac{1}{8} of pizza

1 \frac{1}{2} = \frac{12}{8}

\frac {12}{8} + \frac{5}{8} = \frac{17}{8} = 2 \frac{1}{8} pizzas

Mixed four operation word problems

Problems with mixed operations, or ‘multi-step’ word problems, require two or more operations to solve them. A range of concepts can be covered within mixed problems, including the four operations, fractions, decimals and measures. These are worth more marks than some of the more straightforward, one-step problems.

Mixed operation question 1

At the cake sale, Sam buys 6 cookies and a cupcake . He pays $2.85 altogether.
Naya buys 2 cookies and pays 90¢ altogether.

How much does the cupcake cost?

Answer (2 marks): 60¢ for one cupcake

visual of above answer

Mixed operation question 2

Large cookie tin – 48 cookies (picture of boxes here)
Small cookie tin – 30 cookies
Ben bought 2 large tins of cookies and 3 small tins.

How many cookies did he buy altogether?

Answer (2 marks): 186 cookies 

2 x 48 = 96

3 x 30 = 90

96 + 90 = 186 cookies 

Mixed operation question 3

The owner of a bookshop bought a box of 15 books for $150.

He sold the books individually for $12 each. 

How much profit did he make?

Answer (2 marks)

visual of above answer

Word problem resources

Third Space Learning offers a wide array of math and word problems resources for other grade levels such as word problems for 5th grade, word problems for 2nd grade and word problems for 3rd grade. Our word problem collection covers all four operations and other specific math topics such as ratio word problems and percentage word problems.

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