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# Ways to Help Children Communicate and Share Mathematical Ideas (page 2)

By Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Dec 22, 2010

### Modeling Appropriate Mathematical and Scientific Language

As children observe and measure change and growth, it is important for teachers and collaborating adults to model appropriate mathematical and scientific language. As children describe phenomena of change and growth in their own language, we can supply different levels of description reflecting a more specific vocabulary. For example, “Our bean grew six centimeters in ten days,” “Our shadows were the shortest at noon,” “The wind was blowing thirty miles an hour,” “The water in the rain gauge was more than three inches high,” and “The oak tree was more than one hundred feet high.” Examples of measurement problem-solving strategies for young children are shown in the figure below.

#### Measurement problem-solving strategies for young children.

• Use all modes of instruction—concrete, iconic, and symbolic—and supply language.
• Pose questions and get children to explore and wonder.
• Dialogue with children about what they are measuring, how they are measuring, and what tools they could use to measure.
• Discover and invent together and independently at school and at home.
• Share and see other viewpoints and expressions.
• Make sense out of a lesson.
• Model standard mathematics.
• Have fun!

### Relating Rational Counting of Units to the Process of Measurement

In order for young children to solve problems in mathematics, they need to be able to count with meaning. Young children solve mathematical problems with rational counting. As children count how many building blocks long a plant is, it is important for them to count rationally and in a stable order, knowing the appropriate sequence of numbers. Using one-to-one correspondence (that is, touching one object at a time when counting objects in a set and keeping track are important aspects of rational counting. When a child can consistently keep track of which object he touches and which sequences of numbers is used, he will be counting with meaning. When children count with meaning, they know that the last number named in a counting sequence tells how many in the set, that is, it tells the cardinal property of the set.

Rational counting is not simply naming a sequence of numbers. Children who do not count rationally use numbers as they would name people’s names in a group. That is, the counting sequence of “one, two, three, four” is done with the same purpose and understanding as naming “Carlos, Ben, Judy, and Nicole.” When children know that “one, two, three, four” tells how many are in the set, they are rationally counting.