Home » Academics » MATHEMATICS ~ MRS. MICHELLE MARINI ~ December 2016






Mathematicians Speak the Language of Math

Do you speak math? Mathematics is a language that is characterized by words
and symbols that have precise definitions (Devlin 1998). Many opportunities
exist for miscommunication in mathematics if the words and symbols are
interpreted incorrectly or used in imprecise ways. In fact, we find that imprecision is a common
source of mathematical disagreements and misunderstandings between students, as well
as between students  and teacher. Attending to precision is a common core math practice standard.
We support mathematicians at Tashua to carefully choose vocabulary when solving
problems and sharing ideas.

Kindergarten students are measuring and counting. Some of their vocabulary words are:
length, measure, heavier, lighter, shorter, longer, equal, height and weight.
Try using these words at home.
First grade students are solving story problems. Some of the math vocabulary words
they are using include: addition, plus sign, combination, count back, count on, digit, equal,
sum, and take away. When solving story problems, students use specific words to talk about
their representations and strategies.
Second grade students are adding together number strings and using place value
strategies to solve story problems. Some of the vocabulary words they are using include:
doubles, near-doubles, 2-digit number, tens and ones place, equal groups, even and odd.
Third grade students have been working with equal groups to solve multiplication and
division problems. They use math vocabulary like: equation, product, multiple, dimension, array,
square number, and prime number.
Fourth grade students are using concepts of place value in order to solve problems by
adding and subtracting numbers within 10,000 and beyond. They use math vocabulary like: place
value, U.S. algorithm, difference, sum, ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, hundred
thousands, digit.
Fifth grade students have just begun a fraction unit. They will solve problems by adding,
subtracting, multiplying or dividing fractions. Some of their vocabulary words include: unit
fraction, numerator, denominator, greatest common factor, least common factor, simplify,
equivalent, mixed number and improper fraction.

Remember the language of mathematics is very precise and purposeful. It is our hope
that all mathematicians become fluent in the beautiful language of math! Together, I know that
we can “count on” making a “greater than” ever before effort in this “area”!
(National Council of Teaching Mathematics https://www.nctm.org Accessed November 2016)

Tiger Times December 2016