When – A Weird Adverb for Math {Five Minute Friday}

What does the word WHEN mean for math? Find out in this week's Five Minute Friday post!This is part of the Five Minute Friday series. Today’s prompt is: When.

What a curious word for math, “when.”

These types of adverbs (it IS an adverb, right?)… These types of adverbs usually refer to the place on the x-axis where something of interest happens.

Like: “When does the maximum height occur?” means, “at what x-value (where the x-axis represents time) is the hight the most?”

For functions in things other than time, we use “where.” Which is even more distressing to students.

“Where is the maximum?” we ask.

“Well, right there,” points a student.

When we mean, “At what x-value does the maximum occur?”

When, from a different perspective.

Then there’s the “When will this not be hard?” question.

Or “When will we need this?” That one drives me nuts.

Or “When is this class over?”

I certainly wish students would ask, “When do we have math next?”

And even more so, I look forward to the day when parents say, “When is report card time – I’m so excited to see your math grade!”

When WILL it all get better?

Soon. I hope. Soon.

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