TES Maths ROTW: Developing mathematical vocabulary

Craig Barton
29th February 2016

TES Maths Resource of the Week

Resource title: Developing mathematical vocabulary

Resource author: MH_Hyde

What is it?

As a maths teacher, there are few things more frustrating than when students drop silly marks because they don’t understand the question. The sound of past students telling me “I didn’t know what product meant, sir!” or “We haven’t been taught to evaluate, so I left it out...” still haunts me.

Over the years, I have tried to tackle this by running one-off maths literacy lessons. The trouble is that unless students are exposed to these crucial words regularly, they are easily forgotten.

The solution? This resource. It is a selection of eight weeks’ worth of keywords. Students discuss the meanings, before working together to write questions that use the keywords correctly.

How can it be used?

The author suggests using this resource during form or tutor time, which immediately set off alarm bells in my head. What if the tutors are not maths teachers? No problem. Each selection of words comes complete with examples of how they could be used, which offers support to both the students that are struggling, as well as to the teacher that delivers the session.

Spending five minutes a week using this resource will undoubtedly help students pick up a few valuable marks in their final GCSE exam. As such, my school will be rolling it out after Easter.

Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.

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