Math 7-9

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Math 7-9 > Strategies > Creating Visual Representations

Creating Visual Representations


Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form. Visual representations allow learners to exhibit what they know and can do in alternative ways that can support Working Memory during problem solving and retention of information in Long-term Memory. In particular, research has shown that creating their own diagrams of problems helps middle school students develop the skills necessary for understanding and using diagrams successfully to support problem-solving.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this ninth grade teacher helps his students make connections between the algebraic and visual methods of solving the same problem. Working in pairs to explain both methods, students more deeply understand the math concepts behind the procedural steps of solving an equation.

  • Learners can explore math topics by creating models to represent their thinking and use those models to communicate their thinking to others. Students can also draw the relationships represented in Operations, Proportional Reasoning, and Geometric Reasoning to deepen their understanding.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Watch how ST Math teaches students to visualize math concepts. Their "visual first" problem solving method introduces students to math concepts without using language, symbols, or numbers.

  • A digital or 3D drawing tool provides students multiple ways to communicate their learning. For example, students can construct dynamic models and use computer simulation to study them. This supports students' Mathematical Flexibility by allowing them to creatively explore their thinking and bring their ideas to life.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy