Mario, Monkey Man, fish, and bam-bam: creative terminology in today’s classrooms. (English)

Math. Teach. (Reston) 106, No. 6, 408-409 (2013).

From the text: In our recent experience in working with teachers and students, we have noticed a trend toward teachers using informal, and often creative, language and terminology in an effort to connect with students and make mathematical procedures easier to remember. These terms themselves carry no mathematical meaning, but in specific classrooms teachers and students have used each in the following ways. “Mario" was used when multiplying a monomial by a binomial (e.g., expanding $4(x+2)$ to $4x+8$). The teacher and students would simply say, “You Mario it," meaning that the 4 “jumps" to both the $x$ and the 2. In another classroom, “Monkey Man" was used to supplement the term FOIL when multiplying two binomials. Students could “see" that they had completed the entire process when the picture of Monkey Man emerged. “Fish" was used in yet another class to help students remember the procedure of cross multiplication to solve proportions and give specific direction to what quantities to multiply first. Students were to start at the upper right “tail," draw the fish, and follow the line to complete their computations. Finally, “bam-bam" was used to help students remember to change subtraction into adding the opposite. Changing both signs on a chalkboard or whiteboard quickly produced a bam-bam.