Teacher guide Using visual tools to assist low achievers with mental computation

TLF ID S7048

This teacher resource describes a case study investigating the use of visual tools to enhance mental computation by year 4 students who achieved poor results on the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) numeracy test, at St Monica's Primary School, Canberra. The method section describes the use of four visual tools - number lines, ten-frames, connecting cubes and 'think boards' - to show student thinking as they engaged in mental computation. The strategy resulted in improved student understanding of mental computation. The resource discusses the lessons learned from the case study, and provides a summary of recent research in the field and references to relevant readings.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This resource may be useful in supporting the mathematics learning area. It describes a case study investigating the use of four visual tools - number line, ten-frames, connecting cubes and 'think boards'. A 'think board' encourages students to represent mathematical understanding as a story, a picture and a model as well as using mathematical symbols. The study found that this was the tool that most improved student performance and was also the preferred tool for the students who participated.
  • This resource might assist teachers in addressing many aspects of the Numeracy general capability. It discusses the lessons learned from the investigation and includes insights from some of the students involved. It also summarises current research in the field and provides references to further readings relevant to early years and primary numeracy.
Year level


Learning area
  • Mathematics

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: Commonwealth of Australia
  • Organization: Commonwealth of Australia
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.australia.gov.au
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Online
  • Text
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