The Role of 'Visual Mathematics' in Brain Development and Learning

DO THE MATH: How does the brain function when students think about mathematics—or rather, "see" it? That question is posed in a new report entitled “Seeing as Understanding: The Importance of Visual Mathematics for our Brain and Learning”, authored by Stanford University mathematics researcher Dr. Jo Boaler and brain researcher Dr. Lang Chen. The paper posits that according to embodied cognition researchers, the ways in which "we posture, gaze, gesture, point, and use tools when expressing mathematical ideas" contributes to students' abilities to understand and "hold" mathematical ideas in their brain. 

The paper also delves into Boaler's experiences teaching math summer camps and using visual manipulatives with low-performing 7th and 8th grade students. "When the same content is taught visually," the paper reads, "it is our experience that the status diferences that so often beleaguer mathematics classrooms, disappear."

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