5th grade is the bridge between elementary and middle school. Students start learning the concepts and skills needed for algebra and more complex math. Math in the 5th grade is when all the pieces of knowledge students have developed throughout elementary school come together. Problem solving becomes less straightforward and more multilayered. Students answer questions that have multiple parts to solve before reaching a final answer. Math learning builds upon past knowledge. Using all those skills together helps make any answer possible to find. Here are the top 3 math concepts 5th grade kids should know.

## 1. Numeric Expressions

The perfect example of multilayered math comes in the form of numeric expressions. In 4th grade, students answer word problems with multiple steps, in 5th grade students break down word problems to create equations with multiple steps. Taking multiple-step problems and creating equations with them is called a numeric expression, for example: “Jack has 5 bags of apples. Each bag holds 20 apples. Jack wants to divide the apples equally between his 4 sisters and 6 brothers.” The more complex, multi-step word problem requires students to interpret the written problem, use reasoning skills to decide which math skills to use, and execute the skills in the correct order. A helpful way to help students gain understanding of how to use different math skills together is PEMDAS.

### P.E.MD.AS

PEMDAS is an acronym, to help remember the order to solve numeric expressions. PEMDAS can be broken down to explain the order of operations. **P**arenthesis, **E**xponents **M**ultiplication and **D**ivision **A**ddition and **S**ubtraction. In the example where Jack has 5 bags of apples needing to be divided equally among his sisters and brothers, PEMDAS can be applied like this.

Let’s take that word problem and create an equation. 5 Bags with 20 apples each becomes its own equation of 5 x 20. Because it’s it’s own equation lets put it together in it’s own section using parenthesis, (5 x 20). We know we have to take that number and divide it. So our equation becomes “(5 x 20) ÷ “. Now we have to divide it by all the sisters and brothers, creating another equation, (4 + 6). We wind up with our final equation “(5 x 20) ÷ (4 + 6)”

First we do the parenthesis. 5 x 20 = 100 and 4 +6 = 10. We wind up with a new simplified equation for the problem, “100 ÷ 10” We skip exponents, because we don’t have any, and do the division. 100 ÷ 10 = 10. There’s no more to the problem so we ave our final answer. Each of Jack’s siblings will get 10 apples. Did your family get the right answer?

## 2. Fractions

Fractions have been a major aspect of math learning in the last few school years. In 5th grade, students start connecting fractions with whole numbers. When given a whole number and fraction together, this is called a mixed number. Students start using like and unlike fractions with whole numbers in equations. Working with mixed numbers adds another level to solving math problems.

### Problems with Mixed number

Solving equations with mixed numbers is a multi-step process. In order for students to solve these questions, they learn the importance of proper and improper fractions. An Improper fraction is when the numerator is a higher value than the denominator. These improper fractions can be rewritten as mixed numbers. Students learn to adjust the mixed numbers in equations to make them solvable. Adjusting mixed numbers to help solve equations incorporates addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This continues the importance of making sure students have a strong understanding of math concepts each year so they can build upon them.

## 3. Creating Graphs and Analyzing Data

After learning about angles and lines in 4th grade, students learn how to mark points on a graph, using the x-axis and y-axis in the 5th grade. Learning how to plot different points on a graph is important when trying to visualize data. A lot of the math children learn in their early education is about taking concrete and physical examples to explain how math concepts work. By taking math concepts, points, and equations and creating graphs, students learn how to explain more abstract data in a visual way. Creating graphs to explain math concepts isn’t just good for the future, more complex math concepts help prove an understanding of math and how it can explain the world.

## Final Word

In many ways, 5th grade math is about taking all the math concepts students have collected over their school careers in order to solve bigger and more complex problems. The fundamentals of mathematics, once mastered, can help build bridges, cure diseases, and build the technology people only dreamed about. As students take the next step in their education, they can feel confident knowing they have built the fundamentals for whatever comes next.

Want to know more about school math concepts? Check out all our math concept kids should know blogs.

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