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Visualization In Mathematics- A Skillful Art

Call it a myth or a belief- but many people presume the fact that they aren’t good at Mathematics -that their brains aren’t wired to think mathematically. But just as there are various paths to mastering Arts and Humanities, so there are also alternative approaches to understanding Mathematics. One of the most effective methods by far is VISUALIZATION.

‘If a picture speaks a thousand words then in Mathematics a picture can spawn a thousand ideas’

Visuals help to engage students, to grab their attention and demonstrate how Mathematics is relevant in their lives. In today’s scenario, a scholar needs a logical reasoning for everything they’re taught. Visual models are important tools in explaining how Mathematical concepts work.

Our world is full of information that comes to us visually. The colour and shape of a red, octagonal sign says, ‘STOP’. A pie chart tells us the percentage at a glance. Graphs demonstrate the ups and downs of financial markets. When it comes to expressing Mathematical concepts, visual language can be a noteworthy and powerful way to convey information. Imagine trying to explain what a parallelogram is to someone who has never seen one, using only words. Now imagine simply sketching the shape and watching the viewer’s eyes light up with comprehension.

‘Images express things in ways that words and numbers do not’.

Understanding abstract Mathematics concepts is reliant on the ability to ‘see’ how they work, and students naturally use visual models to solve mathematical problems. For example, how do you find the surface area of a pyramid? You envision a net of all its sides.

Strategies that support visual learning parallel in the teaching of Mathematics can take any form but the best being displayed is in the form of charts, graphs, timelines, 3-D diagrams. This technique can make a profound difference in the student’s depth of understanding about Mathematics.

I personally believe that Mathematical lab-component incorporated in every Mathematical course offered @MRU helps to build a sense of visual imagery and confidence with its application in students. In fact, by teaching visual mathematics WE CAN- and WE SHOULD- increase the learning potential of all students to develop their ability to communicate mathematical concepts in an increasingly visual world!

Written By:- Shehnaz Saronwal, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, MRU

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