Even the simplest written math problems can look like gobbledygook to a visual learner, and the work gets even more frustrating as the student advances to algebra and beyond. The key to success is teaching math through visual aids–in other words, explain the problem and the solution in concrete ways the student can actually see. Visual learning will be much more fun and effective than all the workbooks and memorization in the world.
Learn Math Through Visual Learning
1. Use drawings and photographs to illustrate the math problem at hand. If it’s division, for instance, show the student a picture of 12 golf balls divided into three groups of four. This turns concept into reality for visual learners and makes math something they can grasp and remember.
2. Introduce physical objects that the student can add, subtract, multiply or divide into groups. These are good for visual and tactile learners. It’s fun to vary the manipulatives so they’re fresh each day–for instance, you can use blocks, checkers or special cubes made for math work. Food items are always great–think M&Ms or small animal crackers. Edibles also make a great reward for work well done.
3. Color code the work for visual learners. In black and white, these students easily skip over symbols such as plus and minus. If subtraction problems are always presented in blue, it makes it easier to remember that function–and likewise for the other functions.
4. Invest in a software program that emphasizes visual learning–IXL is an example of an engaging program that helps students succeed at various grade levels. Pictures are provided to illustrate each problem, and the student gets immediate feedback. Working on the computer is usually a treat for visual learners–and they can soak up math concepts at the same time.