Language of Math poster

Are your students struggling with math word problems and their keywords? Are you looking for a way to help them with their math vocabulary? In this post there is a free language of math poster to help with the wording of word problems. There are also links in this post to more ideas for teaching and reinforcing math vocabulary in the classroom.

We hardly give a thought to words like "is", "and", "less", and "of", but these words mean so much in math! This Language of Math poster has helped my Algebra students so much over the years. 

One of the hardest things in Algebra - or any math course, really - are word problems. Once students see that word problems can be directly translated into symbols, and that those symbols turn into solvable equations, Algebra really starts to make sense! I made this Language of Math poster to help students translate word problems into equations to solve. Here is the version I printed for my classroom:

Language of Math poster

I used colorful paper to make a border. You can make this poster even larger by following the directions in this post on making free posters

Language of Math poster on a math word wall

The original poster has followed me for over 10 years. You can see it above in this photo of one of our classroom math word walls. Here's a closeup:

Language of Math poster on a math word wall

This poster has stayed with me for so long because it works! I can point to it when a problem uses words like "and", "is at least", and my favorite "of". 

I love "of" because it puts all sorts of multiplication problems into context. For example, in Consumer Math we work with a whole lot of percentages. When we take "20 percent of $300", knowing that "of" means multiply gives the problem so much more meaning. 

Math gets a lot easier and meaningful when students begin to see it as a translatable language. So many of my students already speak Spanish or Portuguese, this is just like that!

Algebraic Reasoning Pennant for translating expressions in algebra

For practice with translating, this algebraic reasoning math pennant lets students practice translating expressions like, "Ten more than the product of 7 and 3". The pennants then become a fun way to display student understanding while decorating their classroom with their work. 

Translating Expressions, Equations and Inequalities Digital Math Escape Room

To meet the needs of classrooms with technology, I recently made this translating expressions, equations and inequalities digital math escape room. Students work through 20 problems to unlock all 5 locks. I've been getting some great feedback on these digital activities.

You can download the Language of Math poster for free here

More math classroom ideas:

Mr. Holdren's math word wall

Teachers have sent so many photos of their classroom math word walls. Every photo is unique and set up in a way to best serve their students.

Ms. Heaton's math vocabulary wall

The post Classroom math word wall photos shared by Teachers has lots more ideas for math classroom setup of a math vocabulary wall.

Scaffolded Math and Science blog


Anonymous said...

This looks awesome! I can't wait to put it up in my class. We've tried something similar, but I like this better. Thanks for sharing.

ScaffoldedMath said...

Thank you! I hope it makes word problems easier! I love pointing to it, especially when reading "of" or "is" in a problem. Lightbulbs seem to go on.

Chris Reese said...

I would love to shrink this! Such a wonderful poster would make a great bookmark for INB!

ScaffoldedMath said...

On the first page of the download is a 1/2-sheet version for student notebooks :)

DanT said...

I think you should add Per for Division. It is similar to Of for Multiplication. Both words are good for Word Problems. I think it is the inverse operation of Of. 6 of 12 = 72. 72 per 12 = 6

ScaffoldedMath said...

This word always gets me. If I asked, "I have 6 pencils per student, how many pencils do I have if I have 30 students?" then it would be multiplication. I had written "per" in the division row on the handwritten poster in the post, but then crossed it out and added it to the multiplication row. But really, it is one that has always confused me.