VIsuals! Visuals!

Posted on May 26, 2017


Last night I chatted with a friend who’s a graphic designer specializing in educational materials.   She loved programming but … math.   She had said that when she sees a recipe and it calls for 1/3 or 2/3 … what???

I had been explaining to her the visual I need for my lessons:   a  “cloak of divisibility.”   I told her I’d have a number rod … she had no idea.   I pulled up a picture.   Ten-ness.  Described having two of them and dividing by five… and that the cloak would shake them (because Gravity the dog would be tugging at it) and they’d ‘divide’ into groups of five.   I said if we had 51 / 10 it would show that it *wasn’t* divisible… she objected — we could still divide that one!   We clarified that the definition of divisibility was being able to come out w/o leftover or… fractions.   That’s when she reminded me of her recipe frustration, drawing a cup as she did.  1/3, 2/3, what were they???

I drew two dashed lines (the way you’d see them on a measuring cup) and said “we’re dividing by 3…”   she looked, pointed, said, “I get it! 1/3, 2/3… I’m so embarrassed!!”   **cognitive resonance** 🙂 🙂

I went into my explanation that math is like that and it’s good to train the ego to leave “I must be so dumb not to have seen that!”  behind and say “I am so brilliant for figuring that out!” instead…

But I digress!   I can answer the question posed before I came to work.

Just as those big posters of perfect squares and perfect cubes put that concept IN YOUR FACE EVERY DAY… every time we talk about fractions … there will be posters.   If I keep typing my verbality will pull my energy from my poor frail visual part of the brain.  Time to a:  work on the next lesson in Modumath and b:  make some measuring cup visuals.

Also one for multidigit multiplication.

And then a “how to” for mkaing those things and licensing them with creative commons.