The language of mathematics uses three linguistic tools:
- symbols, and
Each is a form of text. Doing mathematics requires English/language arts skills in reading, writing, and oral language in addition to the implied text in symbols and diagrams.
Language in mathematics is important because it is necessary for communication, mathematics reasoning, and precision. Words, symbols, and diagrams must map onto each other.
Words in mathematics are for more than story problems; mathematics uses words with specific applications in the content that have very different meanings in other settings (for example, big, odd, even, radical, obtuse, circle, rational). Vocabulary definitions are used to specify technical uses of terms in mathematics.
The Department of Education convened teacher committees that used the Mathematics Standards of Learning and the Mathematics Curriculum Framework to build vocabulary lists. The committees defined each word or phrase in terms of what the teacher needs to know about the word or phrase. The definitions or explanations given are not definitions or explanations that students should memorize but are the mathematics that the teacher should know in order to provide in-depth instruction in the content.
Vocabulary Terms for:
- Kindergarten through Grade 3 (PDF)
- Grades 4 and 5 (PDF)
- Grades 6 Through 8 (PDF)
- Geometry (PDF)
- Algebra (PDF)
- Michael Bolling, Mathematics Coordinator
Virginia Department of Education
P. O. Box 2120
Richmond , Virginia 23218-2120
- Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org