Table of Contents

Unit 3, Activity 1:

3.1.2 Academic Language Functions

Prior to completing the Illustrative Mathematics Tasks on the next page, take a few minutes to review the Academic Language Functions. Use of these functions is required for all of the tasks.

Time 2 Read


Academic Language Functions are used daily in all academic subjects. The language functions go well beyond just learning the content vocabulary. A Focused Approach to Constructing Meaning, by Dutro and Levy explains further these functions and how best to support students. In mathematics, we introduce many new content vocabulary terms. Along with these terms, mathematics students will also be called upon to understand the mathematics and how to describe, explain, and defend their solutions.

Academic Language Functions

The Illustrative Mathematics Tasks require the use of these academic functions. By providing these sentence starters, students can begin to explain the solutions to the problems. Read the Academic Language Functions (PDF) and consider how these functions can assist your students in better understanding mathematics.

Using sentence starters to help learners describe, explain, and defend their solutions to mathematics problems benefits all students, but is especially helpful in providing academic language supports to English learners and students with disabilities. Additional strategies for supporting diverse learners are provided in activities 2 and 3 of this section and in the Mathematics: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve Standards for Mathematical Practice module.