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Use Graph Paper for Drawing/Scaling

Tags

Mathematics Science Study Skills & Tools All Ages Strategy

Skills

Fine Motor Skills Visual Discrimination Spatial Perception

Use Graph Paper for Drawing/Scaling

If your student has difficulty drawing accurate pictures for word problems

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will use graph paper to help them make more accurate and useful visual aids for solving geometry and measurement problems.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: a) Help students draw out math problems on graph paper by working through several examples together and then having them try it on their own. b) Encourage students to draw larger diagrams, as they tend to start out with a small drawing and then realize they have insufficient room for details. Larger drawings avoid this problem and assure that they can properly visualize all the problem details. c) Once the student gets an answer, have them check to see if it makes sense according to their drawing. If it doesn't, they should check if they made a computational error or maybe used an incorrect formula.
  3. Examples: a) Draw to scale: If a word problem says that the length is twice as long as the width, make sure to use twice as many boxes to represent the length as the width. b) Angles: Model how to use the diagonals of boxes to accurately draw 45 degree angles and use the intersections to show right angles. This will be particularly helpful in geometry and physics problems.
  4. Teacher Notes: There are many websites, including Printable Paper, that offer free printable graph paper. Choose grid spacing appropriate for the student's age and the task. Generally, younger children will use graph paper with larger squares to accommodate their larger handwriting.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Graph paper enables students to create a quick visual aid close to scale so that they can more effectively envision the problem. The efficacy of drawing increases when pictures are more accurate (Fiorella and Mayer (2016)). While this does not mean students need to be precise in their drawings, it does suggest that students with weaker visual reasoning skills will learn more effectively if they can use the lines in the graph paper for more effective drawings.