# How did the visual thinkers learn math?

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Sedaka
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17 Sep 2010, 9:08 am

i'm a visual thinker... but i think nvld also interferes with my graph interpreting.

even though i was in a gifted school program i always sucked at math, except for geometry. always felt like i was working from the fringes toward the middle of something i never seemed to fully grasp, cause i couldn't see it.

these days, i do fine with a calculator at least. it did get better once i started learning steps to solve math problems. but still, calculators are my best friend.

i still do terrible on standardized test where you can't use calculators... like for SATs/GREs

i do like math though!

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Dnuos
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17 Sep 2010, 9:47 am

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.
This this this this this.

It's like: o + oo = ooo

Basic math can be really easy with basic visualization. I would've been in advanced math by now, if it weren't for them moving on to more complicated stuff later. xD

tttnjfttt
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17 Sep 2010, 11:20 am

Seeing the problem with manipulatives is essential. That was how I got the basics, then was able to generalize the concept.

Also, a first grade teacher I know uses touch math, and I think the idea may help your son. http://www.touchmath.com/ It shows the numbers with dots on them so the kids can visualize the numbers.

Toucan

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17 Sep 2010, 7:24 pm

You might find this UK site useful. Lots of pdfs. Have a look at the first Year 1 practise book, and the general introductory information. It's intended for schools, but your son might find the combination of words / concepts / visuals / kinasthetics / manipulatives makes maths more accessible, and the lesson plans give you tips to help him along.
The downside(!) is that if he takes to it, it might be more advanced than the ideas he gets in school.

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching
Mathematics Enhancement Programme (Primary Extension)

http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects ... efault.htm

another_1
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17 Sep 2010, 11:00 pm

My comment did not contribute to the discussion, so I removed it.

Jellybean
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18 Sep 2010, 8:04 am

I didn't... long story short. Colourful numbers maybe?

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AmberEyes
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18 Sep 2010, 8:33 am

Fractions

Cutting up a cake or chocolate bar into pieces.

Drawing pictures of the results.

Sharing out a given number of sweets between people.

Dividing a given number of marbles into bags, so that each bag contains the same number of marbles.

I find the idea of splitting things up into equal pieces much easier to visualise than long division. I still find long division far too abstract and ugh.

When I tried to do mental arithmetic at school, I'd find myself visualising a pen writing on a worksheet longhand. This made me very slow. I was called stupid. At home, I learned a method using complementary numbers and combinations that added up to 10. I visualised ten squares on a chocolate bar and asked myself what combinations of squares would add up to make ten. I'd round up to the nearest ten then substract the "number of imaginary chocolate bar squares" left over. This was much easier than visualising carrying over when doing mental problems.

I've never been that keen on manipulating Arabic numbers when there's no picture or real life context.

I find it much easier to estimate, chunk, visualise groups of objects and find common factors than use long division.

DuneyBlues
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16 Dec 2011, 9:38 am

In mathematics, what the expert
sees and does with an image is not what the novice sees, even with the same diagrams. What the teacher
sees is not what the students see. What one student sees is not what their neighbor sees. All of these
differences impact our classroom work with diagrams and visuals.

It is an illusion that mathematical reasoning is done in the brain with language. Standard
presentations of mathematics foster this illusion, but this formal public appearance does not represent
the problem solving, the thinking, the reasoning of many mathematicians. A ballet performance does
not embody the way this performer walks around their home, or the way they practice. Analogously,
what you observe in a mathematics paper or lecture does not embody what a mathematician does while
solving the problem, or when talking with a colleague. It does not match the cognitive processes of the
mathematician, the teacher, or the learner of mathematics.
What students commonly see in a mathematics classroom is also an illusion.

Visual reasoning is not restricted to geometry or spatially represented mathematics.
As an example, combinatorics is very rich in visual patterns and associated reasoning
Even the algebra, and symbolic logic, rely on visual form and appearance to evoke appropriate
steps and comparisons. All fields of mathematics contain processes and properties that afford
visual patterns and visually structured reasoning .

Mathematicians have not developed clear, consistent ways of working with visuals, as we have
with algebra and other symbolic forms. While the larger community has the discipline to agree on
shared definitions and algebraic forms, we continually develop new diagrammatic representations, in
undisciplined ways. This mixes sustainable visuals with good cognitive fit with local eccentricities.
This gap between individual or local practices and shared conventions is an obstacle to effective
sharing and learning.

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smudge
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16 Dec 2011, 9:44 am

I *highly* recommend Kumon maths, if you can get it where you are.

Verdandi
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16 Dec 2011, 9:59 am

The way I picked up basic math was that it was tied directly to my special interest (gaming). I had a couple of games that required a lot of math just for setting up, and at some point while messing around with these games, the math clicked and I could do it mentally. I was never all that great at writing problems out, though.

If you can find something that Tenzil enjoys that involves math, that may help motivate him to learn it. As for how to handle it visually, I am not sure how to describe that element. I visualize the numbers and then manipulate them appropriately.

drichpi
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16 Dec 2011, 10:03 am

I don't know how they teach basic math these days, but when I was that age, I seem to recall they did it visually. Look around for a first grade math book from the mid 1960s. Maybe that will help.

Also, consider investing in an abacus. That is a visual tool for basic to complex maths.

Dan

SyphonFilter
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16 Dec 2011, 10:29 am

Math is really difficult for me. What helped were using these little blocks that you can manipulate with your hands (I forget what they're called). Also, I drew pictures when it came to basic story problems to help me visualize what was happening in the math problem.

Mummy_of_Peanut
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16 Dec 2011, 11:50 am

I think being primarily a visual thinker has been an asset to me, especially with arithmetic. I think in graphs and pie charts (kind of) some of the time. And when I hear a number, I automatically visualise it (either the image of the written digit or an example of what the number respresents), before I can do any calculations with it or remember it at a later stage. Even recalling times tables conjures up visual images of the digits (and I know them inside out and never had an issue remembering them). I did well in higher level maths, but to me it felt like I was struggling somewhat, especially compared to how comfortable I am with arithmetic. However, I'm convinced it was the teaching method that wasn't working for me, rather than my ability to understand (I don't blame the teachers, just that there was a mismatch).

I remember learning to count and do basic calculations using rods (little wooden pieces of varying lengths and colours) and I'm sure they worked for me. I've also read about a system called Numicon, which might help, but I haven't used it for my daughter, so I really can't comment on how good it is.

I don't think the fact that your son is a visual thinker need be a drawback, in fact I think it could very well be the opposite.

Good luck!

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Last edited by Mummy_of_Peanut on 16 Dec 2011, 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheygoMew
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16 Dec 2011, 11:53 am

This is how I see math in my head.

byakuugan
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16 Dec 2011, 12:31 pm

I've heard that math is often easier to learn for people who have played a lot of games with repetitive rules, because then math is just like another game to them.
Also, in of one of my videos (mostly near the end) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8knIqGEDQsM there are three different square/hexagon diagrams that are the same thing, but shown in three different perspectives, I've always wondered if it would be easier for a visual thinker to understand.

TheSunAlsoRises
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16 Dec 2011, 12:51 pm

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

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

Does Tenzin have a special interest(s) that he enjoys doing or working with ? Any special interest(s) that you can use to incorporate math problems would be very helpful and beneficial to the learning process.

TheSunAlsoRises