Friday, November 23, 2012

Visuals in Education

I am currently enrolled in a course named Algebraic Thinking for Elementary Teachers, and in this past unit we have been studying qualitative graphs. Visual representations in any mathematics class is a great aid for students. Visuals allow students to create connections with numbers in the context of the unit. Qualitative graphs are graphs that do not show much numeral information and the person reading the graph has to work off of the information within the graph - the lines.
For example, the graph below could be a case of a child swinging on a swing. The only information we know is that the y-axis is the distance from the ground and that the x-axis is the time elapsed. By using the curves of the lines, students can be confident that this graph does indeed show the case of a child on a swing. As time progresses the distance increases, however, the distance on the way back down stays constant (due to the fixed height of the swing). As we can see from this specific example, visuals are important in all areas of life and education. Using visuals can help problem solve and make connections to other critical details.

Image from Personal Collection

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