Math Lesson Plan: Integer

Build your next math lesson plan around the Latin word integer. This second declension adjective yields surprising English derivatives and related words.

Latin Word of the Week (1/13/2008):


whole, entire

Create a math lesson plan with the Latin root integer. From elementary math integers to advanced integral calculus, discover the vocabulary building power of this Latin adjective meaning whole or entire.

Basic Math Vocabulary:

Elementary math students learn that whole numbers are called integers, but rarely are they taught the Latin root behind this mathematical term.

A simple presentation of the root word can deepen understanding for students of elementary math. In this case, the Latin root may help them distinguish whole numbers from fractions (from the Latin fractum, meaning broken).

Beyond Math - Derivatives of Integer:

Math teachers, put a few English derivatives into your next math lesson plan. You’ll see light bulbs come on as your students make new linguistic connections. Any teacher, however, can use this Latin root. It takes us beyond math, yielding new vocabulary words that every college student should know.

_integer (n): a whole number, except an integer can also be negative: -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, etc.

_integral (adj): belonging as part of the whole; component, entire, whole.

_integrity (n): the state of being whole, entire, undiminished; perfect condition; moral soundness. The earthquake compromised the integrity of the building: it was no longer entirely safe. We look for integrity in our candidates for public office and in our teachers. A great word for teachers of literature, social studies, or philosophy.

Nothing is at last sacred but
the integrity of your own mind.


_integrate (v): to bring together parts into a whole. Think of integrated schools, made up of the whole population; think of several technologies integrated into one device, such the i-phone. Have you used this word in Social Studies? Teach the mathematical root, too!

_disintegrate (v): to break up, deteriorate, decay. If it’s disintegrated, it’s no longer whole. Our hopes for the championship disintegrated when we lost our final game of the season. How many physics teachers out there have used this word to describe the disintegrated nucleus of a molecule? Physics teachers, teach the Latin, too!

_integrator (n): Know any integrators in your life? That person who makes things whole, keeps everyone together? This is a great word to include in a lesson plan on social skills and communication.

_integrationist (n): One who believes in and fights for social change and integration. Civics teachers, put some Latin roots into your lesson plans!

_integrant (adj/n): making up a part of the whole; a component.

_integralism (n): a belief that one’s religious conviction should influence the whole life, i.e. politics, education, social interaction, etc. Religious studies teachers and home school parents might make this word (and its Latin root!) the center of an entire curriculum.

Latin Phrases in English:

_integer vitae: Whole of life, blameless in life; innocent. This phrase comes from an ancient poem by Horace. Do you know anyone who is integer vitae?

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