Learning Math through Language

Monica Kochar

“When it comes to math and science, writing brings more than literacy and communication advantages. The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving information. Through writing, students can increase their comfort with and success in understanding complex material, unfamiliar concepts, and subject-specific vocabulary. When writing is embedded throughout the curriculum, it promotes the brain’s attentive focus on class work and homework, boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.” (Dr. Judy Willis)

I have been matching Maths and English very intuitively in the classroom. It helps! Students good with English expressions find a way to express their understanding without having to use the many symbols that maths is filled with. It gives them a chance to succeed, get motivated to learn maths while I get a formative assignment that is creative! Some of the projects turned in are so brilliant that I can only marvel at them.

A few ideas I tried in middle school are as follows:

Activity – “Create a crossword for HW with the 10 words you have learnt in this chapter. Exchange your crossword with a partner. Solve each other’s crossword and exchange it back for correction and marking.”

Ask students to write clues for the math terms and automatically the understanding of the words is reinforced. As the student struggles with creating a cryptic clue for an Isosceles triangle, the connection between the properties and vocabulary grows deeper in the minds of the learner.

This can be used for any topic. But it lends itself better to topics with a lot of vocabulary.

The author is a math teacher in Pathways World School, Noida. She can be reached at reachmonica@gmail.com.

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