Because math is a language of numbers, children and even adults can underestimate the importance of vocabulary in mathematics. However, as children progress in math, word problems become more prevalent, and word problems utilize a vocabulary unique to math that can be difficult for children to grasp as they develop the analytical skills to extract information from these problems. Despite their difficulty, word problems are the link between math and its practical application, teaching children the real-world purpose of math. This makes math vocabulary a necessary lesson for children, one that should be learned early to ensure children have a solid foundation in mathematics.
How Math Vocabulary Helps Children With Word Problems
A strong understanding of math vocabulary helps most when children delve into the world of math word problems. These word problems can be daunting to children because they require a different skill set than number problems, and even mathematically adept children may struggle when learning how to do word problems. Word problems require the ability to analyze a written question for relevant information, understand the meaning of the words used in the context of math, and utilize all given information accurately before they can begin to solve the problem. Because of the nature of these problems, a strong understanding in math vocabulary can help children pick out key words and phrases that make math word problems easier to solve.
Key Math Terms to Increase Problem-Solving Abilities
There are countless terms used in math, and it can be overwhelming to learn them all, especially as a beginner. However, there are a number of common signaling words and phrases that kids can learn to help them figure out what a math problem is asking of them. Here are a few common words and phrases to help children figure out which operation they need to use:
- Addition Terms: combined, together, total, in all, all together, sum.
- Subtraction Terms: decreased, less, difference, between, more than.
- Multiplication Terms: times, product, factor of, every, in all.
- Division Terms: each, separate, quotient, per, equal.
These are just a few examples of words and phrases that commonly indicate certain operations in word problems. Be sure to work with your child and practice strategies like highlighter usage and manipulate games to help them get a better grasp of navigating word problems.
Help Your Children Succeed With a Focus on Math Vocabulary
Math vocabulary is one of the foundational knowledge points in mathematics, and its mastery plays a fundamental role in a child's ability to utilize math language fluently. By guaranteeing your child has a strong understanding of math vocabulary, you can help ensure they maintain a strong understanding of math concepts as they advance in skill for years to come.