Sunday, 8 March 2015

Sunday Wonderings

Mathematical language (continued)...

Last week we looked at the following questions...
  • 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.
Last week we looked at the language of addition. This week we will explore the language used when teaching subtraction (based on content from Teaching Primary Mathematics).

The language of subtraction:

take away - the first terminology used for used for subtraction. Students will grasp this concept through stories and visual prompts. Example: there were 7 books, when I take away 2 there were 5 left.
subtract - once take away is understood, subtract is used (moving to a more formal language). Example: 7 subtract 2 is 5
whole & part - a complete understanding of subtraction requires an explicit awareness that part/s are taken away from a whole, leaving a part.
renaming - this is a crucial step in solving subtraction problems. Understanding place value (for example 1 ten is ten ones) is essential for students to be able to complete a subtraction algorithm that requires renaming.
Alternative expressions can be introduced once the subtraction concept is fully understood. These can include such terms as: minus and trading.

Do you have any other language associated with subtraction? Feel free to add to our collection!