Support for PBS Parents provided by:

  • Cat in the Hat
  • Curious George
  • Daniel Tiger
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Odd Squad
  • Peg + Cat
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Super Why!
  • Wild Kratts
  • Martha Speaks
  • WordGirl
  • Thomas & Friends
  • Arthur
  • Sesame Street
  • The Electric Company
  • Cyberchase
  • Between the Lions
  • Caillou
  • Chuck Vanderchuck
  • Oh Noah
  • Fetch!
  • Fizzy's Lunch Lab
  • Maya & Miguel
  • Mister Rogers
  • Postcards from Buster
  • Clifford
  • SciGirls
  • Wilson & Ditch
  • WordWorld
  • DragonFly TV
  • ZOOM


Glossary of Common Math Terms

homework helpUse the definitions in this glossary of math terms to help you talk about math ideas with your child.

  • Angle: the V-shaped figure formed by two lines meeting at a point (angle shape); or, the measure of the turn formed by two lines meeting at a point (angle measure).
  • Attribute: a detail, such as size, shape, or color, used to describe an object.
  • Area: the number of square units that fit inside a two-dimensional shape (like a rectangle), or that cover a surface of a three-dimensional shape (like a cube).
  • Bar Graph: a graph where the length of a bar represents a certain amount.
  • Circle: a two-dimensional round shape where every point on its boundary is the same distance from the center.
  • Circumference: the distance around a circle.
  • Cube: a three-dimensional solid shape with 6 identical square faces.
  • Cylinder: a three-dimensional solid shape with identical circular ends (a can).
  • Estimation: an educated ‘guess'; a rough calculation.
  • Geometry: the mathematics of points, angles, lines, surfaces, flat shapes and solids.
  • Graph: a drawing or diagram that shows the relationship between numbers using pictures, bars, or lines.
  • Line: a collection of points forming a straight path extending in two directions.
  • One-to-One Correspondence: the matching of one thing to another; for example, the matching of the number “3” to three bears, or “4” to moving forward four spaces on a board game.
  • Parallel: lines that are always the same distance apart and never intersect.
  • Pattern: a design or sequence that repeats itself in a predictable way.
  • Probability: the numerical chance that a specific outcome will occur.
  • Pyramid: a three-dimensional shape with a square or triangular base and triangular sides that come together in a point.
  • Rectangle: a two-dimensional, four-sided shape with two pairs of equal-length, parallel sides and four right angles.
  • Spatial Reasoning Skills: the ability to figure out how two-dimensional flat shapes or three-dimensional solid shapes may fit together to create new shapes.
  • Square: a two-dimensional, four-sided shape with equal-length sides and four right angles.
  • Statistics: the mathematics of collecting and analyzing data to draw conclusions and make predictions.
  • Symmetry: an attribute of a figure where one part of it fits exactly onto itself, as when something can be folded along a line so the two halves match exactly.
  • Tally: a way to keep track when counting by making marks or using counters.
  • Tessellation: a design of repeating shapes that fit together without gaps or overlaps.
  • Triangle: a two-dimensional, three-sided shape with three angles.
  • Volume: how much a container holds, or the amount of space occupied by a three-dimensional object.
  • What's this?

    Sign up for free newsletters.

    Connect with Us

    PBS Parents Picks

    1. Play Learn App

      PBS Parents Play & Learn App

      Get new seasonal backgrounds and fun fall stickers. Plus, more parent tips!

    2. Irrational Behavior image

      What to Keep in Mind About Irrational Behavior

      These incidents can be important opportunities to teach children how to manage emotions. Here's how.

    3. Science Birthday Party image

      Reading Food Labels: A Cheat Sheet

      When food shopping for young children, you only need to pay attention to a few things.