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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# Math Language

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

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