Ways & How

how to teach math vocabulary

how to teach math vocabulary

There are effective ways on how to teach math vocabulary if you really think about how your students would perceive it. It’s like learning a new language. If it’s too difficult, they will immediately lose interest. There’s a big chance that they will learn quickly if they are enjoying it. The real terms used in math must not be substituted with other petty names just to be funny.  They must be understood and applied as they are to be able to utilize them in the real world. Let’s look at these suggested tips and see if they can make a difference:

  1. Use the actual terms in math from the start of the lesson. Never translate these technical words into baby talk just to make the children giggle. Anything substantial will be registered in their young brains, and there’s the danger that they could bring these wrong words to adulthood  giving them a hard time  adjusting to dealing with colleagues and future employers. One correct term a day is good enough to start with. Use this often in a sentence and you’ll hear more imitations after that like:  “The ‘sum’ of my candies and your candies is ten.

    board with all the math terminologies learned would be a good reference for review.

  2. Create visual aids or actual illustrations when introducing a new subject matter. Numbers can be irritants sometimes. But if you have a cake and divide it into six equal parts, what is the fraction of one child’s share? You can’t have the actual materials at all times, but they can still be illustrated on the blackboard to help students to visualize what you’re talking about.

  3. Establish connections with words that are already known by the children when there’s a new word that has to be learned. “If there are four quarters in a dollar, there are also four sides to a quadrilateral.” “Quadrilateral” is a little complicated.  Either the brain would reject it totally, or students will not bother to understand what it stands for. If familiar words like a “quarter” or the “dollar” which are a lot more common can be associated with a new word, it will stimulate the brain to register the new word and its meaning because of the familiarity acquired from the connection.

  4. Test your students’ understanding of the math vocabulary learned. A practical exercise when they are asked to apply these words in a dialogue with matching demonstrations will clearly show how they understand these terms. You can also show video clippings to them and ask questions afterwards to see if they are able to get the messages of the programs. Like, “If I’m going to give you  one hundred thousand dollars as a reward just like the honest girl in the video, where should I place the ‘decimal point’ on the check if I’ve already written this figure: U.S. $10000000”?

  5. Repeat the application of math vocabularies learned in various formats. It will be harder for the students to forget difficult terminologies if explanations are shown in various ways. Repetition does help students remember better. Share your burden by letting the kids come up with their own version of illustrations on how to explain these words. They can use flash cards in matching games or even play as a teacher in your place.

The technicalities on how to teach math vocabulary effectively must be balanced with the basic activities of students on a daily basis. This way, they will regard math as something that is part of their normal lives. They will not hate the subject for what it is. All you need is a little creativity.


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