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The Importance of Visual Mathematics - 4. Seeing is Believing

May 1, 2019

This is the final instalment of a 4 part series discussing the importance of visuals when it comes to learning mathematics. (Click here to read the previous part)

 

As previously discussed, visuals play a significant role in learning mathematics regardless of age or level. Simply by introducing and encouraging your child to better count with their fingers and transitioning them over to represent problem sums with bar models, your child will be able to build a strong foundation in mathematics, a precursor to future mathematical success. 

 

Seeing is Believing

 

If you haven’t had the time to read the previous three parts of our series; “The Importance of Visual Mathematics”, fret not. In this final part, we will wrap up the essence of each of the previous parts, to deliver a concise summary of our findings. 

 

 

As the title states, visuals being a part of the learning process is paramount when it comes to mathematics. How did we come to this conclusion? This is a fact that is backed by countless scientific research. The research has shown that when students are taught using visual approaches, mathematics changes for them, and they are given access to deep and new understandings. (Boaler, Lang, Williams & Cordero, 2016). Studies by neuroscientists have also concluded that when people work on mathematical calculations, the brain will work out the problem through visual processing. The same study also reflected how people whom are taught how to better represent their fingers at a young age, are predisposed to attain higher mathematical achievements; a versatile tool they can use to face challenging problem sums across a wide range of topics and concepts.

 

 

Finger representation has been established as an important learning tool for young learners, however, it does not just end there. The next visual tool your child should be equipped with is model drawing, specifically bar models. This is backed by a 2017 study by Lisa L. Morin that proved that bar-model drawing is an effective strategy for increasing elementary students’ accuracy in solving math word problems and also improves their ability to use cognitive strategies to solve those problems. 

 

The reason why we decided to write a 4 part blog series on the importance of visual mathematics is largely impart to strong belief in the statement. We truly believe that visual learning is the best way to go about a child’s mathematical learning journey, trumping methods such as memorising steps or using fixed mathematical formulas and methods. Knowing this is a bold claim to make, we felt that an article series with in depth explanations dedicated to said notion, backed by scientific research would be helpful to many inquisitive parents.

 

 

Here at PSLEMath we make it a point to equip all our students with the visual tools they need to excel in mathematics. Apart from that, we have developed an all rounded programme from the ground up. Through years of teaching experience and analysing years of exam papers from top schools, we believe we have “broken the code”. There is a subtle trend among the different questions being tested, where by the same few concepts are being tested across different topics. With this in mind, we configured our programme to fit the needs of a Singaporean student. We have chosen to focus on teaching our students reasoning skills. By teaching our students the reasoning behind the concepts within each topic in the syllabus, in a systematic manner. This allows for the student to learn each topic, while simultaneously gaining a deeper understanding of the concepts which will be carried across other topics. This step by step learning process develops the student’s reasoning skills, which ultimately help them work through their problem sums with ease. To achieve this, we create our own proprietary content, ensuring that your child learns in the most efficient way possible. Reasoning skills and visual mathematics come hand in hand, in our experience both skills play an integral part in the development of your child’s mathematical foundation. By using visuals, your child can better understand the reasoning behind the questions they face. Vice versa, by using reasoning to solve a sum, your child will be able to better identify the concept being tested and then apply the most appropriate visual tool to solve the sum.

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