Math Word Walls

Math vocabulary word walls for elementary, middle and high school math classrooms

The math word walls you'll find here show vocabulary and concepts in action and in the context of related words. There are links on this page to word walls for elementary, middle and high school, ideas for math classroom setup, and inspiring teacher photos. Each math word wall comes in printable color, printable black & white and no-prep digital in Google Slides in the same downloadable file. Every word wall now includes Spanish vocabulary. 

(above: part of a 3rd grade math word wall)

My first introduction to math word walls came from a geometry teacher in a classroom next to mine. He had created a hand-drawn, floor-to-ceiling math word wall covering all of the formulas and concepts his students needed to know for their state test. At the time I thought it was a little much. I mean, do high schoolers really need a math word wall? A few years later, he went on to become Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, and I went on to realize how right he had been after giving math word walls a try in my own classroom. 

algebra word wall - print and digital
part of an algebra word wall

After having spent seven years teaching general education high school math, and one year teaching 8th grade algebra, I headed back to high school to teach inclusion and applied algebra 2, consumer math and geometry. The summer before starting this job, I painted a bunch of geometry word wall cards and factoring posters. I knew I wanted to start a math word wall so worked that summer creating by hand what I thought I'd need. Here is a picture of my first ever math word wall, complete with its hand-painted posters and math vocabulary cards: 

And a real hodgepodge of a wall on the other side of my classroom:

my first math word wall

Then during the school year, I found myself drawing linear graphs over and over again to help my algebra 2 students make links back to what they had learned in algebra-- y-intercepts, zeros, slope. So the next summer, I began making permanent, printable references for my walls, starting with this one for linear equations: 


My classroom word wall quickly became an extension of my teaching. It let me quickly and easily point to a reference to help students move past their confusion when they got stuck and supported my students to work more independently.

In the years since, teachers have requested math word walls for their own classrooms and I have tried my best to fulfill each of these requests. On this page you'll find links to every math word wall I've made, along with some of the great photos teachers have shared of their classrooms over the years. 


"My students are LOVING this word wall! The images and examples, instead of just definitions, really help them to understand the concepts." -Marcie S, 8th Grade Math Word Wall 


"I love this. It is very versatile. I projected the vocabulary word while I taught the lesson and the I later posted a paper copy on the wall. My students actually looked at the words after they were posted. Great Resource!" -Denise H, Grades 6-9 Math Word Wall Bundle 


"The BEST math poster/word wall I could have put up this year. I will keep it up all year for my advanced Geometry and Trig classes." -Sarah M, Unit Circle Word Wall 


"I am in love with this resource! My students are struggling learners and this has really been helpful to point to when they have repeated questions or when I am introducing a new topic." -Jennie M, 2nd Grade Math Word Wall 


Algebra Word Wall - print and digital
part of an algebra word wall

To date, I've completed math word walls for 2nd grade through algebra 2, financial literacy, the unit circle and a few extras. 

4th Grade Math Word Wall - print and digital
part of a 4th grade math word wall

Every math word wall comes in printable color, printable black & white and no-prep digital in Google Slides. All 3 versions come together in the same file. 

exponential growth visual on an algebra 2 math word wall
part of an algebra 2 word wall

If you are looking for written definitions of the vocabulary words, they won't be here. I have found math word walls showing concepts in action, instead of explicit written definitions, allow more students to access the math vocabulary.

With 15-20% of our kids having reading difficulties (and up to 80% in students with specific learning disabilities), showing the concepts in context allows more students to make the connections that are critical for conceptual understanding.

This photo shows part of a 2nd grade word wall. It comes separately and also as part of a bundle of math word walls for grade 2 through grade 5.
part of a 2nd grade math word wall

This gives more students access to the math, especially our visual learners, students with reading disabilities and English Language Learners.

nets on a 6th grade math word wall
nets on a 6th grade math word wall

In my experience as a general education, inclusion and special education teacher, an effective word wall shows examples and pictures. If we are learning about shifting a quadratic function in vertex form, for example, I can quickly point to our wall to remind students which way the vertex will shift. This has supported my classroom management by helping me keep my students on track. To make each math word wall, I think hard about how best to remove all unnecessary words and make the visuals as clear and descriptive as possible.

6th Grade Math Word Wall | Scaffolded Math and Science
part of a 6th grade math word wall

I have found that presenting math vocabulary in this way increases math confidence and lowers math anxiety in students who struggle with reading, while still communicating the vocabulary and concepts we are learning in class. 

area and perimeter on a 3rd grade math word wall
part of a 3rd grade math word wall

My students reference our walls during independent work and I reference them during lessons, especially when needing to make a connection back to a previous topic or moving a student past confusion.

graphing systems on an algebra word wall
part of an algebra word wall

With pictures, examples and reminders, math is more accessible to more students.

triangle sums - 8th grade math word wall
part of an 8th grade math word wall

Students can find the information they need more independently, which leads to greater feelings of confidence and success. To me, confidence in math is everything. In my own classroom, I can focus on the students who need more intense help while directing others to use the walls for help.

exponential functions parent graph on an algebra 2 word wall
part of an algebra 2 word wall

Whenever a student was confused, I used to stop class to catch up that student. This, of course, gave a sense of free time to the rest of the class, and reeling everyone back in became time-consuming and pretty frustrating.

Pythagorean Theorem - geometry word wall
part of a geometry word wall (digital version)

I know that when a student is confused her learning stops. That student won't hear anything else I say until her question is answered. This is why I would always stop to answer student questions. With visual aids on the walls, I can now point at a reference and get that student over his hurdle a lot faster. 

middle school math word wall ideas
part of a 6th grade math word wall

Even with lots of encouraging that their voices matter, some of my students wouldn't speak up when they had a question. Adding visual supports to our classroom walls has given all of my students, and maybe especially these students, the tools to help them take charge of their education.

circles on a Geometry Word Wall
part of a geometry word wall

Seeking out and finding answers to their questions on their own by using our classroom word walls is empowering. This is one of my favorite things about math word walls.

linear equations references on an Algebra 1 word wall
part of an algebra word wall

Adding a math word wall to my classroom changed my teaching in a few important ways:

◉ Greater student independence
◉ Keeping the class on track
◉ They make a classroom inviting
◉ Connections to previous topics
◉ Low floor, high ceiling

quadratic graphs on an algebra word wall
part of an algebra word wall

That last reason is probably the most important impact I have seen since adding a word wall to our classroom. The supports are there for kids who need them, allowing more students to feel that maybe math is for them after all.

Financial Literacy Word Wall | Scaffolded Math and Science
part of a financial literacy word wall

Allowing all students access into our curriculum by offering visual supports has allowed more of my students to feel successful in math. 

probability on a 7th Grade Math Word Wall
part of a 7th grade math word wall

To me this is a huge part of being a math teacher. I need my students to know that math is for everyone. 

fraction visuals on a 4th grade math word wall
part of a 4th grade math word wall

Teachers have sent so many photos of their math word walls and every one of the photos has been different, even using the same pieces. They have been so fun to see. In every one of the photos, the pieces are arranged differently, based on student need and teacher preference. 

Ms. Napoli's math word wall
Ms. Napoli's math word wall

I love how Ms. Napoli's math word wall pops with the black bulletin board paper as a background.

Ms. Davenport's math word wall
Ms. Davenport's math word wall

Yellow! Ms. Davenport's math classroom is so cheery with her yellow display.

Ms. Estrada's 6th grade math word wall
Ms. Estrada's 6th grade math word wall

Ms. Estrada arranged the pieces of her 6th grade math word wall's box and whiskers plot onto blue paper to make a poster that can easily be taken down and put back up when needed.

Mr. Caruso arranged related pieces onto black poster board before hanging his Geometry Word Wall.
Mr. Caruso's geometry word wall

Mr. Caruso arranged related pieces onto black poster board before hanging his Geometry Word Wall.

Mrs. Shah put a frame around slope to draw her students' attention to their current topic of study.
Mrs. Shah's algebra word wall

Mrs. Shah put a frame around slope to draw her students' attention to their current topic of study.

Ms. LaBrake hung her math word wall on her classroom cabinets.
Ms. LaBrake's math word wall

Ms. LaBrake hung her math word wall on her classroom cabinets.

Instagrammer Falak's algebra 2 parent graphs with some twinkle lights.
Falak's algebra 2 parent graphs

Instagrammer Falak's algebra 2 parent graphs with some twinkle lights.

part of an algebra 2 word wall - parent graphs for constant functions
part of an algebra 2 word wall (digital version)

Here is a photo of one of the digital word wall references. With the digital word walls, I wanted students to almost feel they were in a real classroom, which is why I chose to make the digital versions with real photographs. You can see how the digital versions work in this video.

part of a unit circle word wall
part of a unit circle word wall

And just a few more photos. Here is a reference for the Unit Circle.

place value on a 4th grade math word wall
part of a 4th grade math word mall

And place value in a 4th grade math word wall.

box and whiskers on a 6th grade math word wall
part of a 6th grade math word wall

And a box and whiskers plot on the 6th grade math word wall.

6th grade math word wall - print version

Here is more of the 6th grade math word wall.


And fractions on a 5th grade math word wall. Every math word wall comes in printable color, black & white and interactive digital in Google Slides. Below you can see the home screen of the digital algebra word wall. Each image clicks to a larger version so students can get a closer look.


Math word wall downloads


Each word wall includes 3 versions: printable color, printable black & white and no-prep digital in Google Slides.




Smaller 4-grade bundles are also available.




Free extras:


free volume and surface area visual math word wall
Volume and surface area word wall


prime factorization word wall reference
Prime factoring (in free resource library)


Finding GCF and LCM word wall reference
GCF & LCM ladder method (in free resource library)


Place value w/decimals (free math resource library)
Place value w/decimals (free math resource library)


Angle pairs math word wall reference - print and digital
angle pairs


parallel lines cut by a transversal poster and coloring page
Parallel lines and transversals


Order of Operations mobile
Order of operations mobile (in free resource library)




math word walls


TIP: If you choose to laminate your word wall, there may be some unwanted glare that prevents students from viewing the references. Spraying the lamination with clear, flat spray paint will take that shine right off! Here is a video showing how great it works.













26 comments:

  1. How do you attach these to the wall?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary, in my classroom I used the blue Loctite putty. For heavier posters, teachers have even used a strip of blue painter's tape on the wall then hot glue between the painter's tape and the poster they are hanging. This way the hot glue doesn't come in contact with the wall. Other teachers have used Command Strips, but I haven't given these a try.

      Delete
  2. Hi! These would be so wonderful if you would have them in Spanish. They'd be a best seller.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment! Many of the word walls do have Spanish vocabulary words included.

      Delete
    2. Coming back to update that every word wall will now include Spanish vocabulary by August 2021.

      Delete
  3. Thank you very much for these. I have been using your materials for a couple of years but have never said thank you. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for coming back to leave a comment! This means a lot. I hope your year is going well!

      Delete
  4. You're very talented with such a vast amount of resource knowledge to include in word walls. I will be buying the 6th grade for sure next paycheck...

    ReplyDelete
  5. These are so amazing but I noticed it starts at 2nd grade. Is there way you have a 1st grade one. I teach first grade and the 2nd grade one already jumps to the hundreds in the examples while 1st grade we teach similar concepts in 2nd but not as high.

    Thank you for your time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter is in 1st this year. I've been slowly putting together references for her and that I can eventually compile into a 1st grade word wall. I'd love to work with you on this, if you are willing. I know how busy you are, so no problem if the answer is no. My worry with "little kid math" is always that I will get it wrong, so like to work closely with experts! My email is shana@scaffoldedmath.com.

      Delete
  6. I love these. I am about to put some of the 8-11 grade math word wall pictures in my classroom. There is one thing I can’t find though. In the Algebra Word Wall, I can’t find the words “coefficient and “exponent” for the term, expression, and equation section. Is it in there somewhere. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah, coefficient and exponent are on page 37. I squeezed them in there instead of adding another page to the word wall, so they're a little hard to find.

      Delete
  7. I love your clear place value poster (place value - billions pdf), I'm just wondering if you have the other part to go with it. The right side of the decimal (tenths, hundredths, thousandths) etc. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, I think I can do this. The issue is the text bubble, but I might be able to span it onto 2 pages. Please send me an email so I can share when it's done. shana@scaffoldedmath.com

      Delete
  8. Do you have any plans to include the Statistics standards for 7th grade?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise, there are stats references in the 6th grade word wall. I try not to have any overlap between the word walls, so they'll probably stay in 6th grade only. But if there's a reference you need, please send me an email. shana@scaffoldedmath.com

      Delete
  9. AnonymousMay 17, 2022

    I love your word wall and plan on purchasing it for next year. For your high school level walls do you allow your students to use the wall during tests? I know there are some topics that I teach with my honors classes that they are expected to memorize. I also know that in the real world they will have access to look up any questions they have. What are your opinions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always allowed my students to use our word wall along with their notes. That being said, I taught applied Algebra 2 and Consumer Math to students with some learning difficulties and by then they were past our last state test. So I wasn't under the same pressure as a 9th or 10th grade teacher is under.

      If you are allowed to make this decision yourself and do not have to base it on a school rule, I'd say allow them to use your word wall. One huge benefit I saw from allowing them to use it (and their notes) was that I had that leverage to say, "It's in your notes" or "You can use the wall". With the word wall and notes in front of them, it forced my students to seek out answers on their own without my help, strengthening their researching skills and independence.

      Delete
  10. I just purchased the math word wall bundle! I am SO excited...it's absolutely amazing! Do you have one for science as well? My buddy across the hall is so eager to know after seeing me work on my math one this afternoon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lacy. They really mean a lot. Unfortunately I don't have a word wall for science. Maybe someday.

      Delete
  11. I am planning to purchase your geometry word wall for my son who is homeschooling. Is there a simple way to scale it down so that we can make a notebook instead of putting them on a wall. We unfortunately do not have a wall to dedicate to math vocabulary.

    Thank you,
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Debbie, if your son will have access to a computer, each now comes digitally in Google Slides. The link to the digital version will be inside the PDF. For a notebook, you can choose to print 2 or 4 per page to make them smaller, or you can scale down to an exact size you'd like. I really like the free program Adobe Acrobat Reader DC for this.

      Delete
  12. AnonymousJune 24, 2022

    Do you have ant set notation items in your word walls? Or the symbols for the set of real numbers, rational numbers, etc.?
    I love your word walls!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inside the 8th grade math word wall there is a set of references for number classification that includes natural, whole, integers, irrational, rational and Reals. There's also a little bubble to the side for imaginary numbers that you can decide to display if your students are ready.

      Delete