Using pictures and talk to develop mathematical understanding

There are hundreds of ideas out there to support the teaching of maths. You have seen through this blog that Maths can truly be enhanced through Oracy. Using pictures and talk to develop mathematical understanding really draws together some very key things in understanding new concepts.

Picture Stimuli – pictures and talk!

They say a picture tells a thousand words… Well sometimes they really do! Using pictures or physical materials can really open up a concept for us, especially when learning a new mathematical concept. The talk that ensues from looking at a diagram or picture is sometimes incredible.

Using pictures and talk to develop mathematical understanding – what concepts are revealed?

I really feel that we need to use a variety of pictures and images when teaching any maths. It is through seeing and having an image in our heads that we can then manipulate the concept and begin to delve deeper. I love the third picture above as it really opens up the floor for dialogue about fractions. Using this in a Year 2 lesson would most definitely spark conversation about the size of the parts and the teaching of fractions being equal sizes becomes easier. A carefully chosen image is definitely worth the time it takes to explore the ideas! Don’t forget to add a sentence stem and display the vocabulary you wish the children to use.

Always, sometimes, never

This activity is great for mini investigations. I usually place a large A1 sheet of paper in the centre of the table and write the question in the centre. The children then have to convince me by writing and proving their answer on the sheet in as many ways as possible.

Using pictures and talk to develop mathematical understanding – investigations are a great way to develop understanding of a concept.

When children work with their peers towards a common end they really can develop a good understanding of a concept. This is particularly true when talking through and making a decision about how true something is. The addition of asking children to prove what they are saying further develops their understanding. A child may start off trying to prove something is true and in fact end up proving the opposite. A powerful activity when this happens. The process enables the child to change their mind with the realization that something doesn’t work as they thought. When you try something out and the idea fails you have to re-evaluate your thoughts and make a change.

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