Visual Aids

UDL 2.5

Visual aids involve adding pictures and images to support learning. In math, this includes adding pictures to make word problems more concrete, pairing math problems with visuals or adding pictorial models to a page of problems. Visual aids are useful for students who require visuals to conceptualize content. Visual aids are not as obvious to other students in the class as physical manipulatives. Therefore, they can be useful in integrating the student more naturally in a classroom setting. Care must be taken to make sure that the images are appropriate for the student’s grade level. Using Disney pictures or childish looking cartoon figures is not appropriate for older students.

Implementation Tips

Tally Marks
For students who understand the concept of addition, subtraction, etc., but cannot do the mental math calculations, slash marks can be made next to the numbers for the student to count.
For students who are having difficulty with the language used in word problems, pictures and symbols may be added to clarify what items are being calculated and what process is involved. For example, “You baked one dozen cookies and took them to a party. After the party, there were three cookies remaining. How many cookies were eaten?”, could be paired with an image of twelve cookies, a minus (—) sign, three cookies and an equal (=) sign.
Matching Activity
For students who do not use written language, when giving students a page containing different geometric figures and asking them to label each one a circle, square or triangle, provide a labeled model of each at the top of the page and ask students to draw lines from each figure to the one at the top of the page that it matches.


Addition Problems
When asking students to solve addition problems, pair equations with pictures of the items to be added (e.g. For 4 + 4 = ?, put pictures of 4 apples and 4 apples next to the problem).
Geometric Figures
When asking students to label a variety of geometric figures, provide a labeled model of each figure at the top of the page.
Word Problems
Pair word problems with pictorial equivalents (e.g. images of items being counted) and symbols (e.g. +,—, x, ÷, =).

Related Strategies