Visual Representations

All students can benefit from using visual representations, although struggling students may require extra support and practice. Visual representations are a powerful way for students to access abstract math ideas. Drawing a situation, graphing lists of data, or placing numbers on a number line all help to make abstract concepts more concrete, whether done online or offline. Developing this strategy early will give students tools and ways of thinking that they can use as they advance in their learning of more abstract concepts.

View an Introductory Presentation on Visual Representations Strategies

Click here for a version of this slideshow which can be used with a screen-reader and is 508 Compliant.

Read the Complete Visual Representations Teaching Strategy Guide

Choosing the “right” visual representation often depends on content and context. In some contexts, there are multiple ways to represent the same idea. Your students need to view a variety of visual representations (see UDL Checkpoint 2.5: Illustrate through multiple media) in order to learn when and why they should choose each one. As you plan how to provide differentiated support and practice, consider ways technology tools can support the development of this critical practice.


  1. Provide Clear Explanations
  2. Give Students Strategies and Models
  3. Provide Ongoing Formative Assessment