Next Live Presentation on January 28th
Have you ever considered the importance of vocabulary instruction in math? If you think about it, success in math often hinges more on the ability to read and understand the language of mathematics than on the ability to perform mathematics computation. In other words ...
Math is more than a numbers game.
Years ago, standardized tests consisted of page after page of computation, but today's math tests require students to read challenging word problems and understand precise mathematical terminology in order find the solution. For example, upper elementary students who don't know the difference between factor and multiple or range and median are going to struggle to perform well on tests. Geometry is another area where accurate knowledge of the key vocabulary is closely tied to understanding of the essential concepts.
It's pretty clear that mastering the language of math is just as important as mastering math facts or being able to solve complex computational problems.
So what's the best way to teach math vocabulary? I can assure you that having kids is memorize words and definitions is NOT the way to go! Besides being extremely boring, rote memorization does not provide students with the opportunity to explore the complex nuances of meaning inherent in math terminology.
The good news is that the most powerful strategies for helping kids learn the language of math are also the most motivating and fun! Why? Because those methods encourage kids to TALK about math concepts and practice using the vocabulary correctly as they take part in hands-on activities and math strategy games.