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In this action research study of my classroom of fifth grade mathematics, I investigate the relationship between student understanding of precise mathematics vocabulary and student achievement in mathematics. Specifically, I focused on students’ understanding of written mathematics problems and on their ability to use precise mathematical language in their written solutions of critical thinking problems. I discovered that students are resistant to change; they prefer to do what comes naturally to them. Since they have not been previously taught to use precise mathematical language in their communication about math, they have great difficulty in adapting to this new requirement. However, with teaching modeling and ample opportunities to use the language of mathematics, students’ understanding and use of specific mathematical vocabulary is increased.