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.
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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.