Math in a Minute: Writing in Math Edition

Volume 3 Issue 21


Fold your paper in half.  Write everything you know about a certain topic on the left side of the page. Once learners have finished, they discuss the topic together.  Anything they hear that is new information, they write about it on the right side of the paper. Encourage the learners use complete sentences.

Advice Columns

Have students write fictitious advice columns, as one might find in a newspaper, except these are math advice columns. Have your students think of math-related names to use for their advice column, for example "Dear Algy" (short for algorithm), or "Dear Doctor Sum." You can either assign a topic for the advice column, or try having your students think up possible math situations when someone might need advice, such as "I keep getting my x axis confused with my y axis. Please help me figure this out," or "I can't remember how to find equivalent fractions."

Picture Prompts

Display a picture and give learners opportunities to write about what they see in the picture.  Encourage connections to math and the use of proper math vocabulary.

Shared Writing

Shared writing is common in the lower grade levels.  Why not put in some math writing during your shared writing time?


R.A.F.T. writing prompts challenge students to assume a Role before writing, to write for an imaginary Audience, to write using a given Format, to write about a certain Topic. This is a simple but powerful technique that will inspire more thoughtful writing from yourself or your students. Here are a few examples:

Poets in Math

Writing and sharing poems is a popular way for students to share ideas and feelings. The creative process involved in writing poetry requires students to apply their understanding of math concepts to the task. Your students may enjoy presenting their poetry in a "Math Poetry Slam" event for other classes. A fun and easy poetry assignment is to have your students write haiku poems for geometric solids. (Haiku, and its three line, five syllable, seven syllable, five syllable format is quite appropriate for a math activity!) Take this haiku, called Triangular Prism, for example:

Five faces, all flat
Your straight edges count to nine
Triangles—a must!