# Mathematizing: Highlighting the Mathematics in the Young Child’s World

“From the ages of 3 through 6, children need many experiences that call on them to relate their knowledge to the vocabulary and conceptual frameworks of mathematics – in other words, to ‘mathematize’ what they intuitively grasp.” (NCTM/NAEYC 2002, p.16)

So what does it mean to “mathematize”? Mathematize is defined as:

1. To regard or treat (a subject or problem) in mathematical terms.
2. To reason in a mathematical manner.
3. The act of interpreting or expressing mathematically, or the state of being considered or explained mathematically.

Simply stated, mathematizing is bringing out the math in what children are doing

Math is a lifelong tool which children and adults use everyday.

• We estimate lengths and distances – how long will it take me to drive across town?
• We notice differences in quantity – which bag holds more?
• We move our bodies successfully in new environments – the bathroom is down the hallway, second door to your right, I parked my car on the 4th floor of the parking structure next to the elevator.

As adults we unconsciously mathematize our environments every day, so let’s do the same for our young ones.

These are some simple ways to begin mathematizing with your children:

• Emphasize math concepts and relationships.
• Use mathematical language.