Math vocabulary


            Parents who use math vocabulary when speaking with their children help them to have a better basis for understanding mathematical concepts. If you know the meaning of these terms, use them and explain them when you use them. If there are some that you don’t know, find out what they mean and make an effort to incorporate them into your speech and activity.

            Helping a child to feel secure in math is easier done when she is younger. It usually doesn’t take too much practice to get children comfortable with many of these concepts. It’s just a matter of introducing a word or phrase, using it, showing the context, and practicing it on a regular basis.

            This list of math terminology can get you started.

shapes: circle, triangle, rectangle, square, rhombus, parallelogram, hexagon, octagon, pentagon, sides, line, point, round

three-dimensional shapes: sphere, cube, pyramid, polyhedron, dome, ball, obelisk, geometry

fractions: half, third, quarter, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, etc.

decimals: percent, decimal point

cardinal numbers: one, two, three, etc.

ordinal numbers: first, second, third, etc.

number sense: numeral, digit, integer, pattern, next, figure, number sequence, counting, even, odd, every other, infinite, infinity, calculate

measuring, imperial system: inch, foot, yard, square foot, cubic foot, mile, square miles, acre, bushel, peck,

measuring, metric: centimeter, millimeter, meter, kilometer, hectare

measuring liquids, imperial: cup, ounce, pound, half-pint, pint, quart, gallon, barrel

measuring liquids, metric: liter

time: second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade, century, millennium, annual, anniversary, biannual, centennial, sesquicentennial, bicentennial, calendar

math functions: add, plus, subtract, minus, multiply, times, divide, number sentence, equation, answer, sum, difference, product, result, least to greatest, greatest to least, missing, most like, the most, the least, square root, pi

money: cent, dollar, penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, dollar

comparisons: the same as, less than, fewer than, more than, equal to, as many as

recording: graph, axis, point, chart

geometry: point, line, angle, obtuse, right angle, 45°, 90°, 180 °, 360°  

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents.

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