[Numeracy 307] Re: Linking word- and number-based language

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Carol King cking at lyon.k12.nv.us
Tue Apr 13 17:33:52 EDT 2010


I agree it is a task. I think more attention to it could be
beneficial. I was talking with a friend who teaches physics and she is
frustrated that her students do not understand the algebra needed for
some of the simple equations. The students are using ratios to solve
for the unknown, but that will throw them off in the more complex
problems to come. When she explained the method she would prefer they
used I pointed out that she was using terms that those of us not strong
in math were taught to mean addition ( combine, pair,...) and here she
was multiplying with fractions or using division. When we already feel
lost, the words used really matter.

Carol King

Fernley Adult Education

cking at lyon.k12.nv.us


From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Michael Gyori
Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 12:13 PM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 279] Linking word- and number-based language

Hello Carol and everyone,

The word-based and number-based language link can be quite a task, can't

There is a fundamental difference between the terms quantities and
magnitude. Quantities refer to count nouns (persons, places, things, and
ideas). 1, 2, 3 people; 1, 2,3 cities; 1, 2, 3 cups of coffee; 1, 2, 3,
insights, etc.). Magnitude(s), on the other hand, can refer both to
count as well as non-count nouns (tons of love - a noncount noun in this
case, vs. tons of coffee beans - a count noun in this case).

One of the characteristics of absolute values, at least for pedagogical
purposes, is the use of numbers (math) to - ultimately - (to be able to)
count, whether it be a sum, difference, product, or quotient that
derives from performing operations on numbers (whether whole, part, or

The use of the term magnitude might be potentially confounding for a
learner. Magnitude is a lower-frequency word, and to delve into its
meaning while building mathematical awareness might pose a challenge for
learners with limited cognitive underlying proficiency levels. We need
to be sensitive to what we wish to accomplish both by teaching and the
learning it may trigger.


Michael A. Gyori

Maui International Language School

www.mauilanguage.com <http://www.mauilanguage.com/>


From: Carol King <cking at lyon.k12.nv.us>
To: mmanly at earthlink.net; The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
<numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Thu, April 1, 2010 7:30:33 AM
Subject: [Numeracy 277] Re: Is an absolute value positive?

This leads me back to some of the confusion, while I really liked that
example, you have now introduced the new term of magnitude into our
discussion of absolute values which my text defines as the distance from
0 and it does not mention magnitudes at all. While I personally
understand magnitude and I prefer that as the term for what absolute
value is showing in the problem, if my struggling student was to try to
use another source to help them they might also run into this language
and they feel rather than being helped they are led down another rabbit
hole. Why are there so many ways to express in language what this one
concept is doing rather than a consistent method?

Carol King

Fernley Adult Education Center

cking at lyon.k12.nv.us

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