Math is More Than a Numbers Game

Free Math Vocabulary Building Webinar!

Have you ever considered the importance of vocabulary instruction in math? If you think about it, success in math often hinges more on the ability to read and understand the language of mathematics than on the ability to perform mathematics computation.

In other words …
Math is more than a numbers game. 

Years ago, standardized tests consisted of page after page of computation, but today’s math tests require students to read challenging word problems and understand precise mathematical terminology in order find  the solution. For example, upper elementary students who don’t know the difference between factor and multiple or range and median are going to struggle to perform well on tests. Geometry is another area where accurate knowledge of the key vocabulary is closely tied to understanding of the essential concepts.

It’s pretty clear that mastering the language of math is just as important as mastering math facts or being able to solve complex computational problems.

So what’s the best way to teach math vocabulary? I can assure you that having kids is memorize words and definitions is NOT the way to go! Besides being extremely boring, rote memorization does not provide students with the opportunity to explore the complex nuances of meaning inherent in math terminology.

The good news is that the most powerful strategies for helping kids learn the language of math are also the most motivating and fun! Why? Because those methods encourage kids to TALK about math concepts and practice using the vocabulary correctly as they take part in hands-on activities and math strategy games.

Powerful Strategies for Building Math Vocabulary Webinar

Over the years, I’ve developed a collection of activities and games that are highly effective for building math vocabulary, and they’re super fun for kids, too. I enjoy sharing those strategies in a webinar for teachers called Powerful Strategies for Building Math Vocabulary. In the webinar I also share about 4 important phases of math vocabulary instruction and describe strategies for targeting each phase. If you’re interested in the webinar, click here to watch a replay. If you like a PD certificate for the webinar, it’s available when you purchase this webinar from my TpT store.


Recharge & Write Problem Solving Activity

Recharge &  Write is one of the strategies I share during the webinar, and it’s a perfect example of a cooperative learning activity that encourages math talk. In a nutshell, each team needs a “recharger” and one math problem worksheet per person. Students put their pencils into the recharger when discussing each problem, and they take their pencils out to solve each problem without talking. Recharge & Write is a bit difficult to explain, so I recorded a short video to show how it works.

How to Power Up Any Activity to Boost Vocabulary Development

One of my favorite parts of the webinar is diving into HOW to “power up” any activity to boost its effectiveness. I start by sharing how I modified the rules of the traditional “Guess My Number” game to make it a powerful tool for building math vocabulary. Mystery Number Detectives takes only a few minutes a day to play and requires very few materials, but while students are playing the game, they’re practicing and reinforcing important math vocabulary and concepts. The best part is that they’ll be having so much fun, they won’t even know they’re learning! In fact, my students loved this game so much that they begged to play it and didn’t want to stop for recess!


Free Webinar Replay and Handouts

The live session of Powerful Strategies for Building Math Vocabulary is over, but you can still watch a free replay of the webinar.  To learn more about what I covered during the webinar, download the free handouts from my TpT store and take a look. As you can see, this webinar is jam-packed with engaging strategies for helping kids master the vocabulary of math!