Math PK-2

Multiple Representations: Graphic Organizer

Overview

Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthen recall. Graphic organizers outsource the memory demands of a task by mimicking the brain's mental schema, supporting students' cognitive development and, in turn, their problem-solving skills.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this third grade teacher models using a graphic organizer to solve a word problem. By integrating the mnemonic device "UPS" with a graphic organizer, students are prompted to strategically think and explain their mathematical reasoning.

  • For learners with low Working Memory, graphic organizers hold onto the information for them. Graphic organizers also scaffold problem solving by breaking down math problems into concrete, sequential steps. Students can organize their mathematical thinking and represent their work in a clear, methodical way.
  • 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.

    Products like Creately provide graphic organizer templates and diagramming tools. With colorful, dynamic, and editable graphic organizers, learners and teachers can customize their work to meet their needs.

  • Graphic organizers that can be manipulated—layout, shapes, colors, fonts—provide even more support for developing mathematicians. These manipulatives activate more cognitive skills, from Attention to Visual Processing. The ability to personalize also drives Motivation and positive Emotions, both critical to wanting to learn.