I will never forget when my sixth grade math teacher presented the class with the largest multiplication problem we had ever encountered. He gave us a huge sheet of paper and asked us to multiply 123,456,789 by itself. We had a week to work on it at specific times of each day, and the first person in the class to finish correctly would win a prize. This was the perfect exercise to finish our year. Math for 6th grade homeschoolers should take all the basic operations students have learned in elementary school and apply them to larger numbers, fractions, decimals, and even negative numbers. Sixth grade is a year of transition from elementary to middle school. As such, it is a pivotal year for mastering basic math facts and starting to apply them to algebra, geometry, statistics, and even some physics.
What do 6th graders learn in math?
- Number system fluency. In sixth grade math, students should become fluent with the number system. They learn to use the basic operations in order with multiple-digit whole numbers, decimal numbers, fractions, integers (which includes negative numbers) and percentages. Problems with multiple steps require students to know the order of operations (parentheses, exponents, multiplication/division, and addition/subtraction). This number system fluency prepares them to begin considering variables in pre-algebra.
- Expressions and equations. They will learn about expressions and equations and how to write and use them based on word problems. They also add ratios and rate calculations to their skillset.
- Geometry. They will expand their knowledge of lines and shapes. Sixth graders will measure angles, and learn how to solve area and volume of irregular shapes by deconstructing them into shapes that have an equation.
- Basic Statistics. Sixth grade students begin their study of statistics and learning how to find mean, mode, and median. They also learn some important graphing techniques.
- Other. Sixth grade math students learn how to estimate and round numbers. They learn the metric system of measurement. Some basic physics concepts are also included in sixth grade, such as speed and distance. They learn Roman numerals and squares and square roots.
What math should a 6th grader know by the end of the year?
By the end of the year, sixth graders should have the foundational knowledge that will prepare them for seventh and eighth grade math, including pre-algebra and beyond. Number system fluency is the key skill that sixth grade students must master. They should be very comfortable with basic multiplication and division facts. And they should be able to use these facts to solve problems with different types of numbers, including fractions, decimals and negative numbers. Many of the other topics in sixth grade math are a foundation to build upon later. In a spiral curriculum, they will see these topics again and again in the following years. Starting students in sixth grade with a strong foundation in geometry, statistics, and writing, and solving expressions and equations will make future math studies more productive.
Do I need to teach my child 6th grade math?
Whether your homeschooling style is traditional or not, you will want to be involved in your child’s sixth grade math instruction. This is a pivotal year, and you need to ensure your child has mastered the number system. If math is not your strong suit, consider using an online school or investing in a curriculum with video lessons included, such as you find available from on BJU Press. Child-led learning might work for this course if your child is especially motivated and self-driven in mathematics. Otherwise it is important that your sixth grader receives guidance to ensure that they learn key skills by the end of the year.
6th Grade Math Activities for Different Learning Styles
Whatever your child’s learning style preference, he should practice speed drills to ensure that basic facts are quick to recall. Review games are also fun for all learning styles. Verbal and auditory learners might want to recite equations they are solving during the game out loud.
6th Grade Math Learning Games
Sixth grade is the perfect time to introduce a game like 24. There is a branded game with special cards, but you can also play with any deck of numbered cards. In 24, you have 4 integers and you need to make an equation that equals 24 by adding, subtracting, multiplying and/or dividing. If you have multiple children who are close in age, they can race to come up with an answer the fastest. Otherwise, have your sixth grader race against herself and try to beat her previous time. Or, she can play against you! In the branded game, you have the assurance that each set of numbers will have a solution. If you use a deck of cards and pull 4 random numbers, it is possible that the solution will not exist. Your child will still learn a lot by trying.
If you have a deck of numbered cards, you can play numerous other games with them in sixth grade. Some lower or higher grade children might be able to join in, depending on the rules you decide on.
There is a basic game of war, in which you divide the cards evenly among two players, each player draws the top card and the one with the higher card wins both cards. The final winner is the person with the most cards after both piles have been exhausted. Or you can add cards you win to the bottom of your pile and play until someone has all the cards. You can modify this game by drawing multiple cards and arranging them to make the highest number you can. The player with the higher multi-digit number wins all the cards.
You could draw two cards and add, subtract, multiply or divide to see whose answer is higher. You could also draw two cards and consider the lower of the two to be a numerator of a fraction, and see whose fraction is higher than the other. Or, you can use black cards as positive numbers and red cards as negative numbers, then add, subtract, multiply or divide.
You can also use a deck of cards to practice statistics. Draw 7 or more cards and find the mean, median, mode and range of the numbers you drew. For an added challenge, practice basic operations and then do statistics on the results. Draw one card at a time and decide whether to add, subtract, multiply or divide to try to get to the answer of 1. Once you reach 1, write down the number of cards you used to do it. Repeat this several times, until you have enough data to find mean, median, mode and range. You can also have your child graph the results of each round.
Other 6th Grade Math Activities
Take your sixth grader to the store with you to calculate the sales tax you will be charged. Look for other real world opportunities to practice what he is learning. A variety of learning experiences helps make your children well-rounded.
Include some field trip experiences in your sixth grade plan that highlight what they are learning in math. Visit a mini-golf course at a time when they are not very busy, and let your student measure the angles needed for a hole in one. Take a trip to an amusement park and talk about speed and distance. Some amusement parks even sponsor math and science days for students. Schedule a visit to a construction site or tall building to see some geometric engineering in action. Go to a baseball game and calculate some statistics for the players in fractions, decimals and percentages. Tour a factory and ask questions about the math involved in completing the final product. Visit a farm and measure the size of the field or calculate the yield it can produce using ratios and rates.
Planning for 6th Grade Math
Create a homeschool schedule that puts core subjects like math at ideal times for your children to learn. Create a master plan for 6th grade math by adding the units you will cover to your homeschool calendar. Leave plenty of time for review. Follow that up with individual lesson plans for each day. If you have decided not to teach your child 6th grade math, you will still want to be involved to make sure she sticks to a schedule to get it all done. An alternative to making your own plan is to use a homeschool planner that does some of the work for you. If you are using the Homeschool Hub, learn how to use the included planner.
How do I choose my homeschool math curriculum?
Choosing a homeschool math curriculum with a biblical worldview should be your top priority. Consider whether you need a homeschool curriculum package. A homeschool curriculum package includes student and teacher editions you will need to teach all the subjects for one grade. Look for the appropriate level of mastery vs. spiral review. Decide whether you will want to use any online content or video lessons, such as are included in the BJU Press Homeschool Hub. Consider other factors that will help you choose the best homeschool curriculum for your family.
• • • • •Valerie is a wife and a mother to a very busy preschooler. In her free time she enjoys reading all kinds of books. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Bob Jones University, minoring in Mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Ohio State University. Valerie has 15 years of experience working in research laboratories and has coauthored 8 original research articles. She has also taught several classes and laboratories at the high school and college levels. She currently works as a Data Analyst and a freelance writer.
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