Understanding Math Vocabulary

Children can find math challenging because they don’t understand the math vocabulary and terminology being used in the question.  One of the reasons that this can be difficult for children is because words that are used in math can have multiple meanings.

Math Vocabulary Confusion

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a great article about the variety of words use in math and the confusion typically associated with the words.  They provide great examples of how to help children to make the proper connections with the vocabulary to be able to solve the math problems effectively.  One of the examples in the article is being able to understand the difference between the foot used in measurement and the foot on your body.

A Maths Dictionary for Kids

One great resource to have available while your child is doing their homework is A Maths Dictionary for Kids.  This brightly colored website had an alphabetical list of common math vocabulary and words used in word problems.  Each word has a definition, written examples, and drawn examples to help the child understand the meaning of the word.  Some examples even include a hands-on learning activity to practice the skill for the vocabulary word.

Your Child’s Textbook as Math Vocabulary Resource

In addition to online dictionaries, your child’s textbook is a great resource.  Generally at the beginning of a section of a topic, there is an explanation of the lesson highlighting the important vocabulary that the student should learn in the section.  Teachers do not always go over this section, however it is very important to the understanding of the lesson and the ability to actually learn the math rather than just memorize the steps.  If a child is able to truly understand the concept of the lesson, they will be better prepared to use these skills to solve more complex problems.

What methods do you do at home to help your child with math vocabulary?

Check Smart Tutor Elementary Math Curriculum and Free Math Games

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