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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Communication in Mathematics

Communication is an essential part of Mathematics. Mathematicians not only need to know how to add and subtract numbers, but also how to communicate to the world the new discoveries that are found each day. This communication starts at an early age with students in a classroom explaining the way the student discover the answer to a problem and learning the unique language of mathematics. Communication will be used in a variety of mode and settings. Students will also know how to communicate effectively using mathematical language and symbols because the ideas will be generated and shared.

Communication involves a variety of modes: pictures, written symbols, spoken language, relevant situations, and manipulative. Each way the students has to find the link between each one and how the variety of modes represent the same problem, but in multiple ways. Students use pictures, whether told to draw a picture by the teacher or the student creates a picture on their own, to create a better understanding of the problem and use this picture to help think through the process needed to take in order to find the solution. Manipulatives are objects that can be touched, moved, and stacked. This allows the students to physically see the problem being manipulated and how a small piece is related to the whole. Students are able to communicate in number and symbols, but they are also able to communicate in the spoken language of mathematics. The students can explain their reasoning and process of the result they came up with to help better understand problems related to the one the student solved. A relevant situation can be any context that involves appropriate mathematical ideas and holds interest for children, and connected to a real-life situation. This simple act will create interest in the problem for the students and allow them to invest time into the problem to come up with the solution. Using relevant situation can also show the student how the material can be used in everyday life.

Students are able to use these variety of modes in a variety of setting: small group work, whole class work, partner work, and individual work. This will allow the students to think together and discover the solution to a problem that they can all understand using the different modes of communication. With the discovery  of the solution, the students will be able to write their process of thinking using the language of mathematics and symbols. This written report or oral report of their process can help better understand the problem as a whole, and the student are then able to help others in sharing their ideas for the problem.

When students understand the problem and how they discovered the solution, this will create confidence in mathematics. When they gain the confidence, the students will use communication to share their ideas and understanding of many real world problems.  

Clement, Lisa. Pictures Written Symbols Manipulatives Relevant Situations Spoken Language (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

"THE FIRST FOUR STANDARDS STANDARD 2 - COMMUNICATION." New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework. New Jersey Mathematics Coalition, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

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