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:

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.

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:

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!

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.

You can download the Language of Math poster for free here.

Mr. Holdren's math word wall |

Teachers have sent so many photos of their classroom vocabulary 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.

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.

ReplyDeleteThank 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.

DeleteThank you! These look great!

ReplyDeleteThank you Helles! :)

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

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

DeleteHave you thought about adding "has" to the list for the equal sign. "Jenny has 5 more dolls than Sara. If Sara has 6 dolls how many does Jenny have?"

ReplyDeleteThat is a great idea.

DeleteI 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

ReplyDeleteThis 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.

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