# Using Visual Representations with Students Struggling with Math

(light optimistic music) – [Narrator] Research shows that the use of visual representations
may lead to positive gains in math achievement. Visual representations help students develop a deeper understanding of the problems they are working with, making them more
effective problem solvers. Visual representations,
such as manipulatives, number lines, pictorial representations, and strip diagrams depicted in the Institute of Education
Sciences Practice Guide Assisting Students
Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention for
Elementary and Middle Schools, help scaffold learning and pave the way for
understanding the abstract version of the representation. (light optimistic music) Manipulatives can be
utilized in lower grades in the initial stages of learning as teachers introduce basic
concepts with whole numbers. There’s also evidence that
suggests using manipulatives may be helpful for students struggling with understanding word problems. (light optimistic music) In early grades, number lines are often used to teach students foundational concepts of addition and subtraction. The goal of using a number line should be for students to
create a mental number line and establish rules for
movement along the line. (light optimistic music) Pictorial representations
and simple drawings can help students understand place value and multi-digit addition and subtraction. In this example, circles represent one unit and
lines represents units of 10. (light optimistic music) Strip diagrams are drawings
of narrow rectangles that show relationships among quantities. In upper grades, students can use strip diagrams
to help them reason about and solve a wide variety of word problems about related quantities. (light optimistic music) It is essential that teachers explain why the representation they are using is appropriate for the problem at hand. To help students learn how to
employ visual representations, teachers can talk aloud
about what they are thinking and the decisions they are making as they reason through a problem. For additional instructional
recommendations and strategies, explore the IES products. Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades Four Through Eight and Assisting Students
Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention, RtI, for Elementary and Middle Schools. (light optimistic music)