A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Still learning - Diagrams and conceptual understanding

Thursday, 24 April 2014 | 2 Comments

As a teacher I use diagrams to aid my conceptual understanding when solving a problem.

I encourage students to draw a diagram to aid their thinking when solving a problem.

A student's ability to draw a diagram often represents their conceptual understanding.

As a teacher I need to keep drawing diagrams when solving problems with students.

(a reflection, having recently working through percentages with Year 8)

Posted in • Lesson IdeaPercentagesReflection | Short URL:


Sarah Hagan on  24 April 14  at  11:49 AM #
I wrote a blog post about this exact same thing this week! And, I had this same realization while working on ratio, proportion, and percent problems with my Algebra 1 kids! Except, I haven't been encouraging my students to draw the diagrams enough. Instead, I've been drawing the diagram and cheating us both out of a learning experience. I need to keep drawing diagrams. But, I need to make my students draw their diagrams before they see mine. Then, we need to compare and contrast the diagrams to see what we can learn from each other! [url=][/url]
Heather McMaster on  24 April 14  at  09:13 PM #
Drawing diagrams is a tool for thinking and has the added benefit of revealing students' thinking to their teachers. I believe that teachers should be spending more time discussing and modelling the use of diagrams to help kids draw more efficient ones - ones that eliminate unnecessary detail and reveal the mathematical structure of a problem. Having drawn a diagram, students need then to be able to recognise the mathematical procedures required to solve the problem.

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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