Developing mathematical language

```Developing Mathematical Language
Developing children’s mathematical language involves more than teaching them how to say the
mathematical words. Children also need to understand the words and some may need support in using
other academic language to put mathematical words into sentences to construct meaning. Children need
to be encouraged to use their developing language skills to express their mathematical ideas and
understanding. Every mathematics lesson should incorporate some aspect of mathematical talk including
the accurate use of vocabulary. To support children’s conceptual understanding, vocabulary,
accompanied where possible by visual clues, should form a permanent part of the classroom display.
The ideas in this section come under three key areas:



Learning the words
Using the words
Explaining and reasoning
Each activity can be easily adapted to suit all age groups as well as other areas of the mathematics
curriculum.
Resources available from: http://webfronter.com/lewisham/primarycommunity
(Follow links – mathematics-Teacher resources- Planning resources for Y2 &amp; 3 teachers)
LEARNING THE WORDS:
Activity
Connections
(place value)
Outline
Children create
visual
representations of
numbers in
different contexts
Matching
vocabulary to definitions (use more diagrams for
younger children)
Visuals
Children create their own pictures to illustrate the
meaning of mathematical vocabulary
Vocabulary
web
‘Grouping and
sharing’
Use this to explore words that have a different meaning
Use actions to illustrate the difference between sharing
and grouping for division.
Sharing: mime giving out handfuls of
Grouping; mime grabbing handfuls
USING THE WORDS:
Activity
Outline
Say it –
Encourage children to use mathematical vocabulary in
context and to give answers using complete sentences.
Say it again
Children say number sentences in different ways e.g. 5
minus 2, 5 subtract 2, What is the difference between 5
and 2 etc. Can also be used for multiplication and
division. Use prompt cards showing the relationships to
support children
Explanations
106736955 Aug 2011
Resources
Resource bank within
ActivPrimary
Vocabulary booklet template
doubles’ section
Jean Knapp web
resources
Say it again flipchart
In pairs children choose 1 from a list of words to explain
to their partner ‘what does it mean?’ ‘give an example’.
Feedback what your partner said. Do they agree that is
what was said? (during discussion if they don’t agree
with what is said they should say so). Some children
may need visual reminders of what the words mean in
1
Vocabulary
web
Sentences
order to help them explain it or they may need to draw
their example.
Use this to explore words that have a different meaning
Provide children with words related to the four
operations (e.g. addition and subtraction) and some sets
3 related numbers e.g. 11, 6, 5
Children use combine the numbers with the words to
make relevant sentences e.g. ’11 minus 5 equals 6’ etc.
EXPLANATION AND REASONING:
Activity
Outline
 Show children 3-4 words/phrases from the vocabulary
list and ask them to explain how any two are
connected
Odd one out
 Show children 3 words/phrases from the vocabulary
list and ask them to explain which they think is the
odd one out and why. (helps children makes links and
enables teacher to identify misconceptions)
Always,
sometimes,
never true
Give children a statement to discuss in pairs e.g.
“Doubling a number makes it bigger”. Children give an
explanation justifying their reasoning and giving
examples,
True or false?
Same as ‘always, sometimes, never true’ but using KS1
mathematical ideas. E.g. “When I double a number the
answer is even” or “6 – 4 gives the same answer as 16 –
14”
Talk frames
and
commentaries
Encourage children at the beginning and throughout the
lesson to use key language to describe their methods.
Jean Knapp web
Sentences template for
Sentences template for
multiplication and division
resources
Odd One Out combinations
flipchart
Always sometimes never… /
true or false? Examples
Talk frames for calculating
with empty number lines:
Talk frames and commentaries for use with an empty
number line:
Encourage children to use this language alongside the
correct mathematical vocabulary in order to verbalise
their thinking. Make adjustments according to areas
children need to develop e.g. with addition of a 2 digit
number some children may need to focus on the
language related to partitioning into tens and units,
counting on in 10s then continuing to count on in 1s. For
finding the difference/missing number, some children may
need to focus on the last sentence ‘to find the answer I
need to…’
For division and multiplication it is important to practise
these skills in the context of a word problem.
SOME STRATEGIES FOR TAKING FEEDBACK:
Whisper the answer – While waiting for one person to think of the answer, allow the rest of the class to