We probably have heard of picture walks in reading. Laney Sammons recommends doing "picture walks" to build the capacity to visualize (161). Mathematical picture walks can be used with textbooks, online screen shots, or even children's literature. Asking students why a particular image was chosen to represent a mathematical concept in a text can help them to build their own capacity of options to use when visualizing. Two questions that I feel can really lead to a deeper understanding the purpose behind visualizing are:

- How effectively does this representation promote greater understanding of the concept?
- Are there other ways that this concept or idea can be represented? What are they?

- I'm adding ten plus five.
- A rectangle with an area of 18 square units.
- Two thirds
- What do you visualize when you think about _____? (multiplication, decimals, a foot)

You also can flip this idea and start with a representation and have students explain what the representation might be trying to explain. The example Sammons uses is an array with X's in a two rows by three columns representation (165). Answers may include:

- 2 x 3 = 6
- Two children have three cookies each. How many cookies do they have altogether?
- Repeated addition

*Smart*by Shel Silverstein. A short little poem that teaches an important lesson about money. Students can be asked to "visualize" the trades to better understand why the poem title is quite ironic. Click the image to read the poem.

One key take-away is that visualization in math does not necessarily need to be a drawing. It is being able to represent a math concept in multiple ways: mathematical symbols, real-life examples, model/diagram, and/or explain with words (163). Click on the image to grab the freebie.

MyCuteGraphics, Creative Clips, Hello Fonts |

What are some activities you use to help your students visualize in math? The next chapter is on making inferences and predictions.