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Math Language

Introduction for a math lesson that deals with the language of math.
by

Teresa Gunn

on 27 June 2010

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Transcript of Math Language

The language is often confusing. Language of Math Algebra Geometry The language of math is difficult for students! Why? Source: Calderón, M. (2007). Teaching reading to English language learners, grades 6-12. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press.
No wonder students are confused! Look at all the ways to say "add". Addition
Plus
More
More than
Altogether
Increased by
Sum
In All
Total
Combine



What if you didn't know the language? Could you figure it out? Your great grandmother thinks this is either someone's name or a type of cheese. Confusing! Concepts Word Problems Not only do
you have to know
all the meanings but
then you need to know
what concept to use
to solve the problem. What is the problem asking me? Solution Is there a solution? Questions 1. What is the problem? 2. What is the important
information from the
problem? 3. Which math concepts
are signaled in the problem?
Example: What is the sum? Sum=add 4. What are the math
principles needed for
solving the problem? What formula do I need to solve it? 5. What are the steps I need to take? 6. What is the solution? 7. Does the answer make sense? These questions can help
students become adept at figuring
out what the problem means. Approaches Students also need to
be aware that there are
different ways to approach
problems in different math
subjects. All math problems
are not created equally! Students will still
answer the seven questions. Students should determine
the mood of the problem. Is the problem asking a question or giving a command?
Algebra will most often ask the student questions.
This will help the student determine the answer
to question one: What is the problem? If it is asking a question,
the problem is should be solved using the
algebra method. 1. 2. Students will then
break down the word problem
into participants, processes, and circumstances. This helps identify important
information. 3. The student must translate
the wording into mathematical
concepts. Example:
What is the sum of 2 +2?
Sum=Add 4. Now your students need to link the
math principles with the concepts.
What do I need to know in order to solve
the problem? This could be a formula
such as slope.
Y=mx+ b
I bet you didn't think I knew that one! :) 5. I know that was easy,
but math is not my forte! Differences There are some key
differences in the language
of algebra and geometry. There are just a few
different steps. Students might then refer to
their notes to determine what steps to take to solve the problem. 6. Solve It 7. Check the solution.
Think, Pair, Share might be a great idea here! Is this a foolproof method of teaching math? No! You are teaching students how to "fish" instead of just giving them a "fish".We want them to be able to solve every problem and not just one! 1. The problem is normally a command. Prove the following is true. The answer is already given to you. 2. Students need to determine the relevant information. The student will need to identify the participants, processes, and attributes in the word problem clauses. This will help them draw a visual representation. 3. What math concepts are being used? Students need to define key terms. 4. Draw a picture...it is worth a thousand words! 5. Students need to figure out what steps to take to prove the math concept. 6. What is the solution? 7. Does the solution make sense? Wrap Up Students Students need to have a variety of "tools" in order to be successful students. Teachers Teachers can help students decipher the language of math
through language analysis. Sources All of this material came from an
interesting book.
Fang,Zhihui, & Schleppegrell, M.(2008).Reading in Secondary Content Areas:A Language Based Pedagogy.Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
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