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Powerful Teaching Diagrams for Mathematical Problem Solving

Diagrams offer more precise representation of data than text can, making them powerful tools for teaching mathematical problem-solving skills.

One study demonstrated that students who engaged in diagramming demonstrated greater depth of understanding when tested on principles. This was true even when teachers taught the same concept using both diagrams and written explanations.


Color in a diagram is a powerful element. It evokes feelings and creates moods, as well as being used to differentiate different parts of a subject matter. Furthermore, colors help balance between positive objects and whitespace – often called negative space – creating harmony within an otherwise balanced scene. When choosing appropriate hues to use in diagrams it’s essential to consider your audience; gold and red may signify wealth in some Asian cultures for instance.

An easily understandable visual depiction of ideas and information is far more engaging than text alone. Utilizing diagrams as teaching aids allows students to visualize where a subtopic fits within an overall subject – an approach known as scaffolding.

Writing alone often lacks the discipline of clarity and precision that diagramming requires. Furthermore, teaching diagrams provides learners with an invaluable model they can follow to improve the quality of their own writing.


Different diagrams can be utilized in teaching. Depending on what subject matter you wish to cover, choose the diagram that best meets your goals and needs – popular examples of which include fishbone diagrams, Venn diagrams and bubble maps which have many uses such as comparing and contrasting information or discovering similarities and differences among subjects.

Another effective type of diagram is a two-level process structure diagram. This helps learners grasp how a topic fits into a larger picture and provides more context to what they are learning. Marisha Mets of SLP Now Academy employs this approach with her members; providing top-level diagrams showing her course pillars before providing more detailed versions to help their members comprehend where they fit in the bigger picture – an excellent way to increase computational efficiency while deepen understanding.


Utilizing photos of real-life objects and situations to make learning more engaging for students and children can make learning more interesting and engaging, particularly for visual learners. Photos also enable students to make contextual connections that would otherwise be challenging; for example, viewing an image of a migrant mother can help students relate more closely with course content that might otherwise seem abstract.

Students can create diagrams themselves as another means of using diagrams in various academic subjects and grade levels. For instance, geography classes might use hand diagrams of various landforms; while social studies and history classes could use Venn diagrams to compare political ideologies, national identities or historical periods.

Studies have demonstrated that having students explain diagrams themselves leads to increased understanding compared to listening solely to teachers explain them. It is thought this happens as student-driven self-explanations helps the pupils uncover the principles underlying a phenomenon.

Final Review

Teachers often put considerable thought and consideration into designing diagrams for their learners. Teachers want the diagram to be easy for their students to follow as well as comprehensive in nature, yet clear and comprehensive at the same time. Unfortunately, when creating such a diagram it’s easy to lose sight of how it connects with data as one page after the next is added – this makes it harder for students to keep pace with its flow of information.

To address this challenge, try using templates to get the most from your diagrams. Templates will save time while making your diagrams logical and easy for students to follow – an essential goal of teaching diagrams. Previous diagrams can even serve as inspiration; Marisha Mets of SLP Now (r), an organization providing membership services for speech-language pathologists, used one top-level diagram as her course structure before developing detailed diagrams for each step in her process.