Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sunday Wonderings

Mathematical language (continued)...
Earlier this year we 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.
Earlier we have looked at the language of addition and subtraction and last week we explored the language of multiplication. This week we will explore the language used when teaching division (based on content from Teaching Primary Mathematics).

The language of division:

sharing  - the first terminology used for used for division. This can be formalised to demonstrate sharing objects to form arrays - this way the connection between division and multiplication is formed. Lots of stories and modelling is critcal at this stage. Example: there are 16 marbles and 4 children will share them. How many will each person get?
OO     OO     OO     OO
OO     OO     OO     OO
divided by - to formalise the division process, introduce the division symbol and use the term divided by. Example: 12 divided by 2 is six
Use the correct division symbol from the beginning, as this distinguishes between the number to be shared from the number sharing. 
remainders - it is critical to emphasise when sharing, each person gets the same amount and when the sharing is done - there may be some objects left over... these are called remainders.
Example: 13 bananas shared between (divided between) 4 monkeys
                OOO       O
Alternative expressions can be introduced once the division concept is fully understood (this is important as it is likely students will see and hear these other terms and need to know what they mean). These terms can include such words as: goes into, how many, share equally and equal groups.

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