# How did the visual thinkers learn math?

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tenzinsmom
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16 Sep 2010, 10:07 am

I'm talking basic math.
Any ideas?
Tenzin needs help!

Edited to add: Tenzin is almost 7 years old and in 1st grade.

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Last edited by tenzinsmom on 17 Sep 2010, 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Asp-Z
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16 Sep 2010, 10:10 am

With difficulty. And lots of help.

Though, visual thinking can help with maths if used correctly. You can use images to count in your head, for example. Just look at Daniel Tammet.

Tufted Titmouse

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16 Sep 2010, 10:16 am

In middle school I started learning using little blocks until I could envision them in my head

TallyMan
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16 Sep 2010, 10:17 am

I'm an extreme visual thinker and I had mixed difficulties with math.

Graphs are good, so if there is any way to express an equation visually use that.

Similarly if you can think of examples in real life where an abstract equation could be applied that helps too. Interestingly over time you will likely pick up a lot of images about associated mathematical concepts such as exponential increase and bacterial multiplication to an image of such a graph in your mind. It all helps.

iceb
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16 Sep 2010, 10:31 am

Most mathematics can be represented graphicly.
Visualising graphical solutions is a powerful tool to plot a graph and take measurements is a perfectly valid solution in itself and an easy check on the validity of a formula or solution to a problem.

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PunkyKat
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16 Sep 2010, 10:50 am

Calculator for basic arethemitic. For algebra, a program from India called Key to Algebra. Next to biology, algebra is now my best subject in school.

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SuperApsie
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16 Sep 2010, 10:51 am

I do not think visual thinking will help a lot in basic maths, it is extremely useful later when you get a broader picture

- Sort out the different kinds of questions between all the problems all you have had before
- Do 3 times each kind of exercise
- If on the 3rd time you did not get easily to the answer, find what stopped you, and write down the sequence to reach the solution, redo the exercise until you are confident

In your mind you will naturally end up with a visual "tree" or organigram chart of steps and paths to go for the solution, but even if you see this path now: practice, you will associate steps with writing and will be more confident and gain time to read again your work during the exam and find possible mistakes.

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Valoyossa
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16 Sep 2010, 11:28 am

I'm visual thinker and I learned basic math many years ago, but I remember this. I imagined dots and I... oooh, I'm visual, so I have to draw it

I saw blurred somethings in my mind, like on the picture. Later I could imagine the numbers.

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ruveyn
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16 Sep 2010, 6:14 pm

More easily than non-visual thinkers.

ruveyn

tenzinsmom
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16 Sep 2010, 7:10 pm

Thanks for all the responses!

Especially, Valoyossa
--------------------------------- Big HUGE thanks for giving me something
concrete!! !! !

Just what I was looking for.

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happymusic
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16 Sep 2010, 8:23 pm

Valoyossa wrote:
I'm visual thinker and I learned basic math many years ago, but I remember this. I imagined dots and I... oooh, I'm visual, so I have to draw it

I saw blurred somethings in my mind, like on the picture. Later I could imagine the numbers.

Valoyossa! That is so cool! That's EXACTLY how I envision certain numbers. I've never seen anyone else describe it.

I do arithmetic differently though because my teacher wrote out the digits across the front edge of my desk and I'd sort of slide my finger back and forth to add and subtract. So there's this sort of mental sliding I do for +/- and chunks of digits I work with for multiplication and division.

Tenzinsmom, I also had a sort of illustrated workbook with cool pictures of animals and cartoonish characters interacting with the math problems. Each problem was visually separated by a rounded box and there was lots of negative space. I loved that book and I think it really helped me get into math from the beginning.

yellowLedbetter
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16 Sep 2010, 9:01 pm

I'm a VERY visual learner and I think almost entirely in pictures. But I'm surprisingly an algebra person rather than geometry. I don't know algebra just has a logical order and I'm better with orders than with pictures. Math is not my strong suit though - I'm more of a writer because I have trouble expressing myself sometimes, so writing helps.

CarsMom
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16 Sep 2010, 9:51 pm

This is my first post, I hope I'm responding to the right question! Anyway, I saw Temple Grandin speak in February and she said the best way to teach math to kids was with pennies. They all represent 1 unit. She warned not to introduce other coins as it would just be confusing. I don't know how old your child is, so this might be waaaay too basic! If it's an older child, I'd try to use something concrete & visual to teach concepts.

Gnomon
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16 Sep 2010, 11:58 pm

Teaching myself math (I taught myself everything from basic algebra through multivariable calculus) was a painful, internally violent process where I forced my mind to work through the reductionist, verbal regions rather than the holistic, visual ones. Ripping my visual universe to shreds, digitizing it, and then putting it into little logical boxes that could be manipulated as mathematical elements was really awful, and the only reason I could stand it was that I had nothing better to do at the time and it was necessary for my then-objective of a degree in the physical sciences. It produced some very odd dreaming and a lot of physical stress, but there were moments of beauty and revelation behind the math that kept me going. Still, I failed multiple times to learn any more abstract math than multivariable calc - my brain simply cannot follow the n-level abstractions and parallel processing necessary, and doing such work serially becomes increasingly impractical.

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marshall
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16 Sep 2010, 11:59 pm

I believe the vast majority of concepts in mathematics can be represented using concrete visual analogies. For instance, when combined, all the real numbers in a closed interval form a smooth line while individual numbers are single points.

Actually, visualization is the only way I can easily make sense out of concepts such as complex multiplication. The trig identities which can be derived through geometric intuition basically define how complex numbers work.

AmberEyes
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17 Sep 2010, 4:31 am

Organic Chemistry

I learned number patterns and sequences by handling model molecules.

Carbon atoms are the backbone of organic chemistry.
Carbon atoms in the model molecule are like beads on a necklace.
By knowing how many carbon atoms I had on the chain, I could intuit how many hydrogens I would need. There are many different kinds of functional groups (patterns of atoms) also.

Organic chemistry models helped me to visualise ratios between different atoms.

Also, the model molecules represented three dimensional networks that I could manipulate with my hands. They were visual aids and stimming tools.

Models can be used to represent all kinds of number patterns and networks.
The models don't have to be anything to do with chemistry.
Models can be very basic.

Joining some straws together with plasticine blobs can produce some interesting patterns.
Keep adding more blobs and straws and see what happens.