When we think of Mathematics, we may not think of languages at first. However, even the most orthodox mathematician will tell you that the discipline is pure language – the language of science. The language of mathematics is unique among languages in its ability to provide precise expression for every thought or concept that can be formulated in its terms.
We often take mathematical symbols for granted because symbols are so common in maths. These mathematical symbols make math easy to perform so much so that we usually forget to appreciate their value! In this article, we introduce you to the most common mathematical symbols and essential math vocabulary that you can build upon in your private Maths classes online.
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Basic Maths Symbols
Basic maths symbols help us to work with complex mathematical concepts in a theoretical manner. Simply put, without symbols, we cannot do maths. Mathematical signs and symbols are considered representative of the value. The basic symbols in maths are represented in this table, along with their meanings and illustrative examples. Use this table as your private Maths tutor!
Here is all you need to know about the evolution of the perceptions towards and pedagogy of Mathematics.
|=||equals sign||equality||5 = 2+3|
|≠||not equal sign||inequality||5 ≠ 4|
|>||strict inequality||greater than||5 > 4|
|<||strict inequality||less than||4 < 5|
|≥||inequality||greater than or equal to||5 ≥ 4|
|≤||inequality||less than or equal to||4 ≤ 5|
|( )||parentheses||calculate expression inside first||2 × (3+5) = 16|
|[ ]||brackets||calculate expression inside first||[(1+2)*(1+5)] = 18|
|+||plus sign||addition||1 + 1 = 2|
|−||minus sign||subtraction||2 − 1 = 1|
|±||plus - minus||both plus and minus operations||3 ± 5 = 8 and -2|
|∓||minus - plus||both minus and plus operations||3 ∓ 5 = -2 and 8|
|*||asterisk||multiplication||2 * 3 = 6|
|×||times sign||multiplication||2 × 3 = 6|
|∙||multiplication dot||multiplication||2 ∙ 3 = 6|
|÷||division sign / obelus||division||6 ÷ 2 = 3|
|/||division slash||division||6 / 2 = 3|
|-||horizontal line||division / fraction|
|mod||modulo||remainder calculation||7 mod 2 = 1|
|.||period||decimal point, decimal separator||2.56 = 2+56/100|
|a^b||caret||exponent||2 ^ 3 = 8|
|√a||square root||√a - √a = a||√9 = ±3|
|3√a||cube root||3√a - 3√a - 3√a = a||3√8 = 2|
|4√a||fourth root||4√ a< - 4√ a - 4√ a - 4√ a = a||4√ 16 = ±32|
|n√ a<||n-th root (radical)||for n=3, n√ 8 = 2|
|%||percent||1% = 1/100||10% × 30 = 3|
|‰||per-mille||1‰ = 1/1000 = 0.1%||10‰ × 30 = 0.3|
|ppm||per-million||1ppm = 1/1000000||10ppm × 30 = 0.0003|
|ppb||per-billion||1ppb = 1/1000000000||10ppb × 30 = 3×10-7|
|ppt||per-trillion||1ppt = 10-12||10ppt × 30 = 3×10-10|
It is equally important to teach and learn the language of mathematics for the development of mathematical proficiency. Mathematical vocabulary learning is a critical part of a student's language development and, eventually, mathematical proficiency.
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The language of mathematics is the system used by mathematicians to communicate mathematical ideas among themselves. Math vocabulary can be distinguished from natural languages in that it aims to communicate abstract, logical ideas with precision and unambiguity.
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Essential Math Vocabulary with Meanings
- Plus: The arithmetic operation of summing
- Quotient: The number obtained by division
- Difference: The number that remains after subtraction
- Combine: Put or add together
- Separate: Force, take, or pull apart
- Together: Assembled in one place
- Change: The balance of money received
- Times: An arithmetic operation that is the inverse of division
- Remaining: Not used up
- Increased: Made greater in size or amount or degree
- Total: The whole amount
- Shared: Have in common; held or experienced in common
- Sum: A quantity obtained by the addition of a group of numbers
- Leftover: Not used up
- Less: Fewer
- Fewer: Quantifier meaning a smaller number of
- Product: A quantity obtained by multiplication
- Factor: Any number that forms a product when multiplied
- Decreased: made less in size or amount or degree
- Split: Separate into parts or portions
- Half: One of two equal parts of a divisible whole
- Quarter: One of four equal parts
- Cube: The product of three equal terms
- Square: A polygon with four equal sides and four right angles
- More: Greater in size or amount or extent or degree
- Addend: A number that is combined with another number
- Average: Around the middle of a scale of evaluation
- Coordinate: A number that identifies a position relative to an axis
- Denominator: The divisor of a fraction
- Numerator: The dividend of a fraction
- Equation: A mathematical statement that two expressions are the same
- Expression: A group of symbols that make a mathematical statement
- Estimate: An approximate calculation of quantity or degree or worth
- Fraction: The quotient of two rational numbers
- Integer: Any natural number or its negative, or zero
- Mean: An average computed by adding some function of the numbers
- Median: Relating to the middle value of an ordered set of values
- Mode: The most frequent value of a random variable
- Prime: A number that has no factor but itself and 1
- Probability: A measure of how likely it is that some event will occur
- Acute: (of an angle) Less than 90 degrees
- Angle: The space between two lines or planes that intersect
- Area: The extent of a two-dimensional surface within a boundary
- Perimeter: A line enclosing a plane area
- Circle: A plane curve with every point equidistant from the center
- Circumference: The length of the closed curve of a circle
- Congruent: Corresponding in character or kind
- Equilateral: Having all sides of the same length
- Hexagon: A six-sided polygon
- Intersecting: Crossed or intersected in the form of an X
- Isosceles: (of a triangle) Having two sides of equal length
- Line: A length between two points
- Segment: One of several parts that fit with others to make a whole
- Obtuse: Of an angle, between 90 and 180 degrees
- Octagon: A shape with eight angles and eight sides
- Parallel: Being everywhere equidistant and not intersecting
- Parallelogram: A quadrilateral whose opposite sides are parallel and equal
- Pentagon: A shape with five angles and five sides
- Perpendicular: Intersecting at or forming right angles
- Polygon: A closed plane figure bounded by straight sides
- Quadrilateral: A four-sided polygon
- Ray: (mathematics) A straight line extending from a point
- Rhombus: A parallelogram with four equal sides
- Right: Having the axis perpendicular to the base
- Scalene: Having three sides of different lengths
- Straight: Free from curves or angles
- Symmetry: Exact reflection of form on opposite sides of a line
- Volume: The amount of 3-dimensional space occupied by an object
While studying and analyzing math books is a great way to engage oneself with the subject, that is not what being math literate means. Math literacy is when learners are able to problem solve and use the language of maths in everyday situations. In other words, math literacy (also known as numeracy) means having the ability to problem-solve, reason, and analyze information.
Why Math Literacy Matters
- Beyond language literacy, math literacy is a key developmental step for students.
- Being math literate ensures the ability to use numbers to solve real-world problems.
- It is also the ability to understand the “language” (or, vocabulary) of math.
- Math literacy helps students to analyze and decode the meaning of a question by understanding the terminology.
As important early math skills are taught, teachers need to use math vocabulary to show how these skills relate to everyday life. Through this connection, learners, early in their education, can build a strong foundation to become confident and effective with math in their future.
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Improve Your Math Vocabulary
There are a few easy ways to learn and improve maths vocabulary. Besides signing up for Maths classes near me, students can follow these simple processes and activities to consolidate their learning of mathematical language.
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Systematic Approach to Vocabulary Practice
Students should aim to learn new vocabulary daily but in short spurts, according to the experts. Too many hours a day might be counterproductive to learning. Instead, if students commit to just 15 minutes a day of focused practice, they’ll soon have a solid linguistic base of new words and definitions in Mathematics. Incorporate this practice into your daily classroom routine as following up and testing can affirm and solidify the words you have learned.
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Reading for Meaning
Reading for meaning is a research-based strategy that helps all readers make sense of challenging texts. Reading is one of the most effective ways to teach vocabulary and regular reading is the strategy that gives students the opportunity to practice and master the phases of critical reading that lead to reading success and improved word usage. Strategies can include actively searching for new words during reading and reflecting on what was learned after reading.
Vocabulary in Context
Going through a list of words that are not connected to the subject of Mathematics is the wrong approach. Instead, teachers can ask students to answer questions based on descriptions or create their own fill-in-the-blank assignments. Games, puzzles, songs and music, and real-life objects are important tools. For students to effectively and accurately produce math vocabulary, they have to spontaneously recall the words.
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Being content-specific means terms, concepts, or vocabulary that have explicit meaning critical to understanding particular content. A student’s maximum level of reading comprehension is determined by his or her knowledge of words. Students should be taught keywords that are needed to comprehend texts and learn the content in those texts.
Students must learn to define a word, recognize when to use that word, its multiple meanings, and spell that word. Some ways to do this are through pictures and symbols. It is also important to assess a student’s use of words in writing and speaking.
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This is an activity that teachers usually use with large classes and limited resources. Typically, a word is written on the board. Then, students are asked to say the first word that pops up in their head which has a relation to the word on the board. If a student can’t come up with a word, this is the perfect opportunity to go over the meaning.
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