# Problem Solving by Drawing a Picture

I am a very **visual learner**. Whenever I am facing a word problem of any kind, my initial reaction is to draw a picture. Even if it is a fairly simple problem and I think I already know how to solve it (or even already know the answer), I will almost always *still draw a picture*. While this is an especially useful strategy for visual learners, I believe that **problem solving by drawing a picture** can be helpful for any student!

* –>Pssst! *Do your kids need help making sense of and solving word problems? You might like this set of

**editable word problem solving templates**! Use these with any grade level, for

*any type of word problem*:

**Solve Math Problems by Drawing a Picture:Â **

Maybe I’m drawn to this strategyÂ because Iâ€™m such a great artistâ€¦no, thatâ€™s definitely not it! I believe it is because seeing a visual representation of the problem can put things in perspective, help organize the information, and enable students to make connections that may not have been otherwise seen.

So while I know that not everyone is a visual learner, I believe this is still an important and helpful **problem solving strategy**. Especially if you are stuck and donâ€™t know where to go or what to do. Then you have nothing to lose, right?

When I was teaching high school, I would often encourage students to draw a picture when working on distance/rate/time problems. It is very easy to get bogged down in all the details and numbers, especially if the problem includes unnecessary information (details that you donâ€™t really need to know in order to solve it). Wading through everything youâ€™re given and making sense of whatâ€™s important can be easier when you draw a picture!

Itâ€™s also incredibly important to draw a picture when working on right triangle trig problems. Even if you know how to solve it without a picture, you will greatly increase you chances of a *careless mistake* if you donâ€™t take the extra five seconds to draw a picture.

One important thing to remember, however, is that the picture **does not need to be pretty**. In fact, in some cases it may not even be a picture, just a visual representation of the information. And thatâ€™s ok! The point is to help you **solve the math problem**, not to win an art award. (Thank goodness, because seriously, Iâ€™m no artist!).

If you would like to discuss this strategy with your students and help encourage them to use it when appropriate, I’ve created a short set of problems to do just that!

These word problems could be used with grades 2-4 and include a page that specifically states, “Draw a picture…” and then another page of problems were it would be useful to draw a picture, but it is not explicitly stated. The goal is to get students used to organizing the information in a meaningful way to help them better think about and/or solve the problem.

**{Click HERE to go to my shop and download the Problem Solving by Drawing a Picture Practice Problems !}**

What do you think? Do you use this problem solving strategy or encourage your students to try it? Do you think itâ€™s helpful?

**Here are the other articles in this series on problem solving:Â **

- Problem Solve using Guess and Check
- Problem Solve by Finding a Pattern
- Problem Solve by Making a List
- Problem Solve by Solving an Easier Problem
- Problem Solve by Working Backwards

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Thanks so much for your Math freebie. Drawing pictures is a great way to access student understanding.

Arlene

LMN Tree

Thanks Arlene! Yes, I agree! Students have to show what they know to be able to draw an appropriate picture and solve. Thanks for stopping by! ðŸ™‚