Math, Science, and ELLs

Category: Education

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Math, science, and english language learners :

Math, science, and english language learners Jesseanna Binder, Kelsey Davin, Suzanne Miller, and Morgan Smoke

Cultural Differences in Math:

Cultural Differences in Math Money Metric System Tally Counts American tally system Box tally system: used in France, Spain, and Latin America East Asian tally system: used in China, Korea, and Japan

Cultural Differences in Math:

Cultural Differences in Math Counting Written words to express numbers Counting with Fingers One Two Three Uno Dos Tres

Issues in the Classroom:

Issues in the Classroom Different emphasis put on math in different areas Problem solving strategies Achievement gaps

Issues in the classroom:

Issues in the classroom Word problems and literacy Using literature in math areas Partner and group work

Challenges of Word Problems:

Challenges of Word Problems Reading and comprehending text Identifying the question that needs answered Create and solve a numerical equation Example of a word problem : "Jacob has 28 toy cars which is 6 fewer than Martin has. How many toy cars does Martin have?" Problem terminology : Fewer than ELL student's thinking : Fewer = subtract. They will subtract 6 from 28 to get 22, when really the answer is 34.

Challenges of Word Problems:

Challenges of Word Problems Popular key terminology:

Academic Language Functions:

Academic Language Functions Academic language functions are used daily in all subjects, including math and science, to engage, understand, and present details of content to be explored. Sufficient background knowledge needed a nalyze , apply c lassify , communicate d escribe , design l abel , record r eflect, predict s ummarize , sort

Science in the Classroom:

Science in the Classroom Scientific language is hard for ELL students to read and write because of it’s abstract meaning. As an example for the early elementary grades : If one cup of ice is put into a glass that contains one cup of tap water, will the ice melt or will the water freeze? In order to figure out the problem, the student must make a prediction about what may happen. They then will need to experiment by measuring one cup of tap water and one cup of ice. After, they will observe what happens and record the data they see. Once the experiment is over, the student will need to analyze data to see if their predictions came true. Lastly, they will reflect on what happened.

Science in the Classroom:

Science in the Classroom Science plays two key roles: Facilitates communication of conceptual and procedural knowledge Mediates thinking, a process needed for understanding

Approaches to Science:

Approaches to Science Many countries have different approaches to solving a science problem. Hypothesis, theory, and law are abstract and cannot always be seen or demonstrated Scientific Method Hypothesis Theory Law

Language in Science:

Language in Science Words in Everyday Life Words in Science Table Periodic table Class Animal class Response Autonomic response Work Work ( Physics) Force times Distance through which it acts. Kingdom Animal kingdom Crest Crest of a wave Power Power (Physics) work done or energy transferred per unit of time. Just like in Math, there are some everyday use words that ELLs learn that have different meanings in the Science classroom. This can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.

The Textbook Challenge:

The Textbook Challenge Science textbooks tend to present a great deal of information on a single page. They discuss many concepts with difficult vocabulary. Textbooks use the passive voice, which many ELL students have a difficult time understanding. The sentence structure is also most likely more complex than many ELLs are capable of understanding. Illustrations and graphs are generally on different pages than the material with which they coincide.

Time for Science?:

Time for Science? With the induction of high-stakes testing, the amount of time spent on non-tested subjects such as Science has gone down to make room for tested subjects such as Math and Reading. This means less time spent on teaching necessary vocabulary terms for understanding science lessons as well as less time to give the lessons meaning in the outside world. The material is covered very quickly. What does this mean for ELLs? Less background knowledge for future grade levels, less vocabulary instruction, less understanding of material taught.


References Ells and math. (2009). Unpublished manuscript, Steinhardt Department of Education, New York University, New York, New York, Retrieved from Ells and science. (2009). Unpublished manuscript, Steinhardt Department of Education, New York University, New York, New York, Retrieved from pdf Guglielmi , R. (2012). Math and science achievement in English language learners: Multivariate latent growth modeling of predictors, mediators, and moderators. Journal of Educational Psychology , 104 (3), 580-602. doi:10.1037/a0027378


References Imbo , I., & LeFevre , J. (2009). Cultural differences in complex addition: Efficient Chinese versus adaptive Belgians and Canadians. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory , And Cognition , 35 (6), 1465-1476. doi:10.1037/ a0017022 Kinsella, K. (2010). Academic language function toolkit. Sweetwater District-Wide Academic Support Teams [PDF]. (October) 2-3. Retrieved March 26, 2013 from http ://,d .dmg


References Manalo , E., & Uesaka , Y. (2006). Quantity and Quality of Diagrams Used in Math Word Problem Solving: A Comparison between New Zealand and Japanese Students. Online Submission . Regents of the University of California. ( n.d. ). Science-centered language development. Full Option Science System [PDF]. 2-4. Retrieved February 24, 2013 from language Paik, J. H., van Gelderen , L., Gonzales, M., de Jong, P. F., & Hayes, M. (2011). Cultural Differences in Early Math Skills among U.S., Taiwanese, Dutch, and Peruvian Preschoolers . International Journal of Early Years Education , 19 (2), 133-143. Wright , W. (2002). The effects of high stakes testing in an inner- cityelementary school: The curriculum, the teachers and the english language learners . Current Issues in Education, 5(5), Retrieved from

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