Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday Wonderings

Mathematical language...

  • How important is the language we use when teaching Mathematics???
  • Is there a common language used at your school to teach and discuss specific Maths concepts???
  • Do you have a particular resource that guides your teaching and helps form the basis of the language used???
Interesting questions that are worth a few moments to think about...
Yes, Mathematical language is incredibly important as it forms the basis for all learning. We use it to build and extend skills and develop understanding, so the correct use of terminology and consistency across a school helps scaffold students for success. Using a common language helps avoid confusion for both staff and students and ensures there is a strong foundation for growth.
There are many quality resources available to help both teachers and students develop their understanding of Mathematics. One of my favourites is Teaching Primary Mathematics by Booker, Bond, Sparrow & Swan. This particular resource provides detailed sequences of mathematical learning based on years of extensive research with children. This particular resource, linked to our Australian curriculum,  helps form the basis of language used in many classrooms and schools.
Over the next few weeks we will explore some of the language used when teaching specific concepts in Mathematics (based on content from Teaching Primary Mathematics).

The language of addition:

and - the first term used for addition. Students will often come to school already understanding this terminology. Example: you can have 1 of those and 2 of these.
add - once and is understood, add is used (moving to a more formal language). Example: 3 add 4 is 7
part & whole - a complete understanding of addition requires an explicit awareness that parts are combined to form a whole. The part/whole notion lays the foundation for subtraction and is crucial for building up an ability to distinguish between addition and subtraction situations, particularly in problem solving.
Alternative expressions can be introduced once the addition concept is fully understood. These can include such terms as: plus, sum, total, altogether.

Do you have any other language associated with addition? Feel free to add to our collection!
Next week we will explore the language of subtraction.