What is a Multisensory Math Program?

Multisensory math is a three-dimensional sequential method of math learning. Multisensory math may benefit everyone, especially those who suffer from arithmetic.

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Orton-Gillingham Teaching Approach in a Math Setting

The Orton-Gillingham method of literacy instruction is a multimodal approach. It involves combining auditory, visual, sensory, and kinesthetic components to help primary school children understand the connection between language and letters or words.

Traditional math instruction is built on the same principles as multisensory arithmetic. It encourages touch, sight, hearing, and movement while learning and teaching a new concept. Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT, a certified academic language therapist and multisensory math expert, speaker, former classroom demonstration teacher and a New Jersey multisensory math tutor, expanded and improved on this technique. She utilized and combined the Orton-Gillingham Approach with evidence-based approaches based on neuroimaging research and NCTM and What Works Clearinghouse recommendations.

Zecher stresses math language, stressing the significance of teaching language throughout developing ideas and skills for application. For example, multisensory math combines the Concrete, Representational, and Abstract (CRA) teaching sequence with expressive language to help learners grasp fundamental arithmetic concepts more successfully.

Using the multimodal math approach, students must practice skills regularly and gain new concepts via CRA.

Touch (Concrete) – This multisensory math element is about touch. New Jersey multimodal math tutors use tangible objects to demonstrate concepts or numbers, such as fractions, which are shown by breaking apart foam shapes (or using other manipulatives).

Representational (Drawing) – After the physical or tactile teaching modalities, instructors introduce the representational or drawing components. The multisensory method of education encourages students to create visual representations of the material they have learned. It also allows students to develop their connections and write down their ideas.

After students have fully understood the multisensory math lesson plans given and built upon throughout Concrete and Representational, they will proceed to the abstract or symbols sequence. Traditionally, teachers taught fundamental math courses using only abstract concepts (numbers and symbols). While this has worked for some children, others struggle to grasp mathematical ideas without a physical or visual depiction.

New Jersey ( NJ) Multisensory Math Tutor, Brooklyn Letters

Elementary Math Skills that Learners Should Master

According to Zecher, students in basic math must grasp four conceptual limits that serve as the foundation for higher arithmetic levels. These are their names:

  • Pattern Recognition and Subitizing – The capacity to rapidly identify quantity, also known as subitizing, is a fundamental concept and one of the foundations of mathematics. Patterns are the most effective way to sense quantity. Developing a strong number sense requires the ability to visualize numbers. It opens the path for operational fluency and a greater understanding of numerical relationships. Substituting is shown by recognizing dice patterns: The number or quantity may be identified visually without counting or touching each dot. Similarly, it is essential to acknowledge number connections and understand that numbers may be deconstructed or broken down (8 into 3 and 5 or 2 and 6).
  • Place Value – Teaching place value using craft sticks is a great way to utilize multimodal teaching techniques. For example, learners may see the quantity changing and feel a heavier weight as the number becomes larger. Similarly, it helps pupils distinguish between a number’s standard (the number’s name = 125) and extended form (which is made up of = 100 + 20 + 5).
  • Distributive Property refers to a learner’s ability to act on more significant amounts while simultaneously understanding that such amounts may be broken down or decomposed and then worked on. Consider the number 15 multiplied by three. Students must first understand that the number 15 may be divided into two parts: ten and five. They may then distribute (multiply) 3 and add the results to obtain 15 x 3.
  • What precisely is ONE, and what are its many monikers? – This is related to the concept that every number written over itself equals one. Consequently, multiplying or dividing by some form of one changes the amount’s composition rather than the amount itself.
New Jersey ( NJ) Multisensory Math Tutor, Brooklyn Letters

Getting Started on Multisensory Elementary Math Techniques

Multisensory techniques first were taught in literacy and reading education. However, professionals have shown that this multimodal approach can be used effectively to teach arithmetic.

It is critical to take advantage of a student’s existing skills. The CRA method may then be used to teach new concepts. Manipulatives are necessary for multimodal math instruction, especially in elementary school, but they do not have to be expensive. Here are a few examples of commonly used items:

  • Craft sticks
  • Beads and string
  • Base ten blocks
  • Interlocking cubes
  • Color tiles
  • Foam stickers
  • Flat marbles
  • Dice/Dominoes (only up to six)

Here are some academic math programs recommended by a New Jersey multisensory math tutor:

  • Visualizing using manipulatives like beads, color tiles, or blocks is an excellent method to teach basic operations such as addition and subtraction. In addition, by seeing how quantities change, young learners understand how mathematical operations work. Visualization also helps in the comprehension of amounts and the development of number sense in children.
  • Building shapes using cubes or tiles give children a concrete and tactile representation of dimensions and features.
  • Drawing math problems is an excellent way to teach hands-on activities because it enables students to show their thinking and the concept they have learned.
  • By tapping out numbers, children may “feel” the value of numbers. In addition, it helps students comprehend and link symbols and actual numbers.
  • Songs are used to help students recall mathematical fundamentals and introduce new concepts.
  • We can also include movement into mathematics via play and games.
  • Use bundling sticks or coffee stirrers to teach regrouping and place value. This may also be done using base ten blocks.
  • A hundred chart is an excellent way to teach children about number relationships.
  • By slicing pizza into pieces, fractions are introduced and taught. When you chop up a paper or cardboard pizza, children may be able to see what fractions look like when they choose pieces.

Additional information about multimodal math and can be found here:

  1. Free, ready-to-use classroom resources for all students
  2. Applying the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Math Lesson Planning
  3. ASDEC Multisensory Math I Course
  4. Math Print and Digital Resources
  5. XtraMath® is an online math fact fluency program and App that helps students develop quick recall and automaticity of their basic math facts.
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New Jersey ( NJ) Multisensory Math Tutor, Brooklyn Letters

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Multisensory Math Strategy That Really Works

Number Lines – A number line visualizes a value, such as a fraction, an integer, or a whole number. The numbers are spaced evenly on a straight line, enabling students to understand numerical sequences. Number lines may be used to compare and organize numbers and teach multisensory math techniques for counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

As one of the basic math operations, addition combines two or more objects into a single group. In mathematics, addition is the total or summation of two or more numbers. Therefore, learners must also grasp the properties of addition to deal with numbers more accurately.

Subtraction – Subtraction is a mathematical operation that subtracts a number from the total. Subtraction, like addition, contains features that are critical to comprehending the operation. For example, subtraction is subject to the identity property and inverse operations. It is, however, neither associative nor commutative.

Division – This operation refers to the process of splitting a big number into smaller groups or dividing a large number into equal parts. It is the inverse of multiplication. The commutative and associative characteristics of real numbers do not apply to division.

Multiplication – In mathematics, multiplication calculates the total of two or more numbers by repeatedly adding them. A multiplication statement includes:

  • A multiplicand (the number multiplied by another number).
  • A multiplier (the number multiplied by multiplied).
  • The product or result of multiplying.

Multiplication has the following properties: commutative, associative, identity, and distributive.

Multiplication has the following properties: commutative, associative, identity, and distributive.

Fractions – Fractions are split numbers into equal parts. It consists of a numerator (the number of equal parts counted) and a denominator (the total number of equal parts in one whole). Proper, improper, and mixed fractions are the three kinds of fractions.

Decimals – A decimal is a way of expressing fractions. It consists of a whole number and a fraction of a whole number (any part less than one), separated by a dot or decimal point. A ten-point scale is used to represent decimals (tenths, hundredths, thousandths, and so on).

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