The Fastest Path to Teaching Math Vocabulary

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Do your students often forget the definitions that they need to understand to be successful in geometry? If so, this blog post is for you. We will use angle definitions specifically to address this topic.

We will talk about ways to help your students remember the essential definitions that come up in Geometry. By using some simple strategies that utilize precisely how the brain works we can get this done quickly.

Assessing angle definitions prerequisites using familiar items

The first thing that we want to do is evaluate student understanding of the definitions. This informal assessment should be done early in the year when they come into our classrooms. 

This Geometry lesson plan is often done the first week in my class. It gives me a full understanding of where my students are when they come in so that I can help them in the best way possible.

One of the strategies that I love utilizing is connecting items that are common for the students to see on a daily basis outside of my classroom. 

In the connecting activity for angle definitions that I'm showing here, we have simple questions that ask them to understand the analog clock. Depending on your school and the clocks they use, they may even need to draw out the clock themselves. And while time telling is often learned in second grade, with modern technology many of our students have forgotten some of these basic concepts.

Using something like a clock to help our students understand angles will give us a trigger memory to help students recall this information in moments of forgetfulness. Now when they forget, we can ask them to remember the clock activity to bring the memory forward.

I also like to have my students engaged in the material in more than one way. And so for my kinetic learners, using a protractor or other tools of measurement is very helpful to cement the learning into their memories. 

So in this lesson, we use protractors to measure the angles and make relationships and connections that will help our students remember the information.

Why Repetition Matters

Repetition is a great way to build fluency and confidence with your students. 

During this practice page on angle definitions, I utilize this strategy right at the beginning of the year to help my students feel successful. Therefore I can build on success later in the unit.

The repetition in the practice page builds on itself and allows students to try new ways of solving similar problems. The brain is now making connections and solving problems. 

Even if they didn't feel like they remembered anything from middle school when students started this lesson today, they now have built confidence and use the vocabulary in their geometry work.

Incorporating student ownership of the angle definitions

By allowing time for students to make connections between their world and the content that we are trying to teach them, they gain more ownership of the material. 

This new information is no longer the material the teacher wants them to learn, but now is material that they own within their context.

This shift in ownership is the big payoff of making connections, and this is how we can help our students to retain more of the information each day.

If you want your students to learn and retain the geometry definitions above about angle definitions, then the fastest and easiest way to do that is by making connections. 

Use these strategies to help them with the prerequisites, give them repetition to build confidence, and allow them time to own the material themselves.

If you would like the complete lesson plan in this blog post, fill in your name and email below, and we will send it to you right away.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSG.CO.A.1 Know precise definitions of angle, circle, perpendicular line, parallel line, and line segment, based on the undefined notions of point, line, distance along a line, and distance around a circular arc.