The combination of math and vocabulary words may seem strange to some people. But as with any subject, there are a host of words and terms that are unique to that subject. Students may find themselves stuck on a problem when they don't understand that "finding the sum" means to add or that "at this rate" usually means to multiply.
Just like in reading and language arts, there are some fun, educational and kid-friendly ways to make these important words and phrases stick in their minds. Let's explore a few of them
Set up a Word Wall
Reading and English classes often use word walls, but they can also be helpful with math. Writing down new math phrases and placing them in a designated spot each time one is introduced will reinforce words and their meaning. Just having the new word or phrase close enough to be seen throughout the day is a great opportunity for kids to become more familiar with them.
Math posters and anchor charts dedicated to vocabulary are both great starts as visual reminders to reinforce new math phrases. Kids can create math vocabulary posters with their own artistic imagination. You can imagine the cool designs kids can come up with when creating art that reminds them of keywords such as area, bar graph, exponent, and median. Let their creative minds run wild.
Studies have shown that when we connect a lesson with a motion, there is a significantly better chance of that memory sticking. Math vocabulary can be confusing for some kids so encouraging them to physically write their own math vocab flashcards is a great way to connect their memory of the new word to their own motion.
Bingo is a great way to practice math words while having fun. This strategy has long been a popular method for helping kids learn new vocabulary words and even words in new languages. A bingo grid is easy to draw and you can fill in the boxes with letters to spell a word or whole words that you want to reinforce. With each letter or word added, the child has time to think about the word as well as its meaning and importance.
Not only will focusing on vocabulary help your child understand math problems more easily, but it will also equip them with a larger vocabulary in general, which will help them to communicate in all areas of their life.
Vocabulary is a very important factor in math. Math vocabulary is linked to better problem-solving and conceptual understanding. Ultimately, how can you provide an answer if you don't understand the question?