A focus on vocabulary in math is vital for students to be able to discuss mathematics with precision. In the meme above it is conveyed that the student thinks the word "cross" refers to a crossover dribble in basketball. There are often words that have an everyday meaning and then also an academic meaning. In math, there is important vocabulary that has a mathematical meaning that students need to develop understanding with. The table below has some examples.
Consistency in teaching math within a grade level and across grade levels is important. Consistent usage of vocabulary can help reduce cognitive load on students and help them make connections better. It also assists students in understanding mathematical questions that are posed and to discuss math clearly with other students.
Word walls are a great way to help students learn vocabulary. There are a variety of games that can be used with word walls. One example is below.
Bluff word wall game
Split the class into 2 teams. Ask a question of one team about the words on the wall. Students who would like to be considered to answer stand up. They can either KNOW the question or BLUFF. The teacher or someone from the other team chooses one student to answer. If they get it correct, the team gets points for everyone standing up (even if they were bluffing!). If the student does not get it correct then the team gets no points. The question moves to the next team OR you can tell the answer and give the next team a new question.
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.