Transferring Math Visualization Strategies to Other Content Areas

Gerry Petersen-Incorvaia and Kristina Schaffler, elementary school educators in Glendale, Arizona, highlight how visualizing mathematics can help support student learning in other content areas. They write, it “may provide students with an effective way to categorize and compartmentalize information and relate it to other concepts.”  Outlining how visualization lessons can work for math, the authors note, “Good thinkers create a picture in their heads as they read a problem. This visualization is an important aspect of determining which details are necessary to find a solution, and which portions may be extraneous. This skill helps students to make sense of the problem in order to solve it.” While the Common Core State Standards still require students to know basic procedures and traditional problem-solving methods, they also encourage kids to use multiple approaches to solving math problems so that they can choose what works best for them. As we have written before, they can also “develop a full understanding of concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.” Visualization strategies can not only help some students have a better grasp of the math they are learning, but spill into other content areas as well.

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