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Visual Math Activities
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Visual Math Activities

Visual learners struggle to learn regardless of the subject. They struggle because in order to learn something new, you have to have a hook to hang the information on, inside your brain. Some children are born without "hooks" on which to hang the information. These are visual learners. In order to help them learn any information, we first have to build the hooks. Visual learners see everything in 3D; flat paper with information on it is difficult for them to comprehend or even see. It has no context, therefore it has no meaning. Thus, we need to create visual math activities that will create the hooks in early education so these learners can succeed later on in life.

This article is specific to helping teach math to visual learners. Visual learners think in pictures. They do not understand numbers on a page, they see, and understand 3-D images. They are very smart people, they just learn differently than how subjects are taught in the traditional American schools.

To help them with visual math activities, we have all seen the here are three apples, if we take one away, how many are left. Visual learners cannot (easily) then transfer that concept onto paper and flat, written numbers. Written numbers need to be associated with a number of things. And when they get to fractions, the apple will quite literally need to be cut in half for them to see the concept in action. They can learn the concept; however, visual learners need to see it in action many, many more times than an auditory learner. And one day, it will click and they will all of a sudden know what you've been teaching, and likely have an understanding of a whole lot more than the actual lessons you've taught.

Three apples needs to be associated with the number 3. Four apples, as a group, needs to be associated with the number 4.

Visual math activities should include both the physical objects and the written numbers next to each physical object. In addition, using your fingers to represent the numbers and the objects is a good way for the child to begin to transfer the information from physical objects into written numbers. Using all different types of objects also helps transfer the information from physical objects to paper. Ask the child to pick out three playing cards out of the deck of cards, ask them to pick out three M&Ms from the bowl, three blades of grass from the yard, three pieces of fruit off the tree, three flowers, three chips, pretzels, glasses, cups bowls. This is an activity that can be very fun and memorable for the child. After finding three of several things, group the things together and write the number 3. Have the child write the number 3. You can do this for every number 1-10. I would do each number on a different day while the child is learning his numbers.

You can also do two or three different numbers on a given day if the child is a bit more advanced. However, once the child can do multiple numbers and understands, s/he may not need the reinforcement. Grouping things together is another exercise that some kids struggle with. It will be addressed in the next article.


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