New Math provides students with the opportunity to develop their own definitions of words and concepts using only mathematical equations.
New Math was the brainchild of Craig Damrauer, an artist who developed a simple idea: Capture everyday concepts and ideas solely through the language of mathematical equations.
Damrauer started the New Math project for a solo art show in New York in 2002. Since that time, these equations have been released as a book and as postcards.
Damrauer’s New Math is a creative approach that educators can utilize to allow students the opportunity to create their own definitions, visuals, and restatements in their own words based on their analysis and synthesis of definitions, connotations, and denotations of the word. To create an effective equation, students will undoubtedly demonstrate depth of understanding.
New Math aligns with Marzano’s six-step process for teaching vocabulary to support students who lack sufficient background to achieve in school.
These steps include:
1. The teacher explains a new word — going beyond reciting its definition.
2. Students restate or explain the new word in their own words.
3. Students create a nonlinguistic representation of the word.
4. Students engage in activities to deepen their knowledge of the new word.
5. Students discuss the new word.
6. Students play games to review new vocabulary.
How can you use New Math with your students?
In keeping with the theme of literacy and vocabulary development, here are some vocabulary strategies you may want to try.
Word Jar – For Independent Reading
The following information is written on a strip of paper and then added to the Word Jar:
2. Text/Page Number
3. Sentence in which the word was used
4. Student’s name
At the end of class, words can be chosen from the Word Jar and read.
Students try to guess the meaning of the word.
The word is then read in context.
The teacher can use www.visuwords.com , www.wordsmyth.net , www.lexipedia.com ,or another dictionary/thesaurus site to demonstrate how the word can be used or connected to other words.
The word can then be added to the Word Wall.
Vocabulary Frames is a flashcard method for learning new vocabulary.
However, this strategy should not be used for every vocabulary word encountered.
Words that introduce new concepts or ideas are best used with Vocabulary Frames.
Steele, Kathy (2008). Four Vocabulary strategies for high school students. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from LitSite Alaska Web site: http://litsite.alaska.edu/workbooks/readingvocabulary.html
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