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Why writing is an integral component to learning mathematics at Northbridge

Kohulan Jeganathan
Kohulan Jeganathan (9 posts) Math Curriculum Leader, DP and MYP Mathematics Teacher, and DP Chemistry Teacher View Profile

A common misconception in a mathematics classroom, such as those at Northbridge International School Cambodia, is that math only involves computation of numbers, memorizing analytical formulas, and stating answers. However, writing is an integral component to learning mathematics as it enables students to have a deeper understanding of the mathematical concept.

Mathematics Northbridge

Historically, mathematicians spent time writing math processes to be able to communicate their mathematical theories to the general public. The importance of mathematical writing was that it had to clearly communicate complex understandings to the wider community.

Nowadays, in real life contexts, mathematical writing enables us to understand the real world as it provides substantial evidence to create laws or to invest in projects, along with a multitude of other applications. Without the ability to clearly communicate mathematical findings, it would be difficult to empower politicians and investment holders to make the correct choices.

At Northbridge, the math department reinforces the importance for students to learn how to accurately and effectively communicate mathematical reasoning through their academic writing reports. This is demonstrated through MYP Criteria C & D tasks and in DP Math Exploration papers. Below are a few of the upcoming mathematical reports that are being written by Northbridge students.

In Grade 9, math students explore the financial banking system around the world, in their upcoming unit on exponential expressions. Their Criteria C & D tasks asks students to investigate current savings rates in banks around the world and explore annuities, as well as simple and compound interest formulas. These are valuable real life contexts that they will apply when they move into the work force and start to save money.

Mathematics Northbridge International School Cambodia

Moreover, Grade 12 Diploma (DP) students are currently hard at work completing their math exploration papers. These papers are aimed for students to apply and transfer skills to alternative areas of knowledge, and to link various concepts that they have learned in their DP Mathematics courses.

Furthermore, math explorations enrich students with a better understanding of the moral, social and ethical implications of Mathematics, and enables students to appreciate the international dimensions along with the universality of Mathematics.   

Here are some helpful tips for students to effectively write a strong mathematical report:

  1. Write in complete sentences. However sentences may include mathematical symbols, equations and inequalities. It is important to still communicate with correct grammatical rules.

  2. Use punctuation, capital letters, and other grammatical nuances. Since the purpose of writing mathematical reports are to clearly communicate the general public communicating with correct grammatical rules makes complex theories less ambiguous and helps the reader in deciphering the meaning behind these theories.  

  3. Introduce your variables. Its important for the reader to clearly understanding what your variables mean and stand for as it helps in deciphering the mathematical content.

  4. Use standard mathematical symbols and notations, and use them in standard ways. Mathematics is a precise discipline with specific naming conventions for symbols and notations, misrepresenting symbols and notations can make it harder for individuals not familiar with them to understand what those symbols mean.

  5. Make it look easy. If the mathematical reasoning and proof looks too complex readers will simply not try to understand what the report is trying to convey. It is important to understand the target audience and write