There are a number of Maths dictionaries that you can buy in the shops. However, why not get your class to make their own? They are more likely to remember the meanings of the terms if they have made the pages for themselves. The class (along with your help) can also choose vocabulary which is appropriate for their age range. Once it is made, the dictionary can be kept in the classroom as a valuable reference tool, which the children can refer to during their normal Maths activities.
Each day, you could also choose one term from the dictionary and discuss its meaning with the class (giving examples of when it may be used).
Guidance for making a Maths Dictionary:
1) First of all, you need to decide which vocabulary to include in the dictionary. You could do this yourself, but you could also discuss the matter with the children. Below is a list of possible words that you might want to include (obviously, this is not a complete list – just some suggestions):
You will also need to think about the following:
- Variations of these words and words which have the same meaning, e.g. Addition, Adding, Plus, +.
- Words which have more than one meaning (e.g. square (the shape) and square (multiply a number by itself)).
- The format / layout of the pages of the book. If there is to be a uniform layout, the children should be familiar with this. You could, of course, discuss the format of the book with the children, design a few different styles and ask them to choose the most suitable one. Three possible layouts are shown below.
2) Next, you need to decide which children are going to make each page (and which terms they are going to include on that page). They will obviously need to understand the mathematical vocabulary which they are going to define! As well as defining the meaning of the term, they could include examples of situations where that vocabulary can be used.
3) Once the children have made their page(s), you can put them all together to make the dictionary, which will be a valuable addition to your classroom’s resources.
4) You could also look at some commercially available Maths dictionaries and compare your classes’ to those.