Multisensory math is a three-dimensional sequential approach to math learning. Multisensory math may help everyone, especially those who struggle with arithmetic.

# What is Multisensory Math?

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### Orton-Gillingham Approach in a Math Setting

Orton-Gillingham is a multimodal approach to literacy instruction. It entails using auditory, visual, sensory, and kinesthetic components to assist primary arithmetic students in comprehending the relationship between language and letters or words.

Multisensory arithmetic is based on the same concepts as traditional math education. It involves the use of touch, sight, hearing, and movement when learning a new concept or diea. This method was extended and improved further by Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT, a licensed academic language therapist and multisensory math specialist, speaker, and former classroom demonstration instructor and Orton-Gillingham math tutor. She used and integrated the Orton-Gillingham Approach with evidence-based techniques based on neuroimaging research and NCTM and What Works Clearinghouse guidelines.

Zecher stresses the importance of the math language, highlighting the need to teach language throughout idea creation and skill development for application. To help learners best understand basic arithmetic topics, multisensory math employs the Concrete, Representational, and Abstract (CRA) teaching sequence with expressive language.

Learners must be clearly instructed, practice skills regularly, and acquire new ideas via CRA to guarantee successful basic arithmetic teaching utilizing the multimodal math method.

Touch (Concrete) – This element of multisensory math relates to touch. Westchester multisensory math tutors utilize physical items to illustrate ideas or numbers, such as fractions, which are shown by breaking apart foam forms (or using other manipulatives).

Representational (Drawing) – Following the physical or tactile demonstration, instructors introduce the representational or drawing component. The multisensory approach in teaching invites pupils to develop their visual representation of the topic they have learned. It also helps pupils make their connections and enables them to put down their thoughts.

Abstract (Symbols) – After students have entirely comprehended multisensory math lesson plans presented and built upon during Concrete and Representational, they will go to the abstract or symbols sequence. Traditionally, basic arithmetic classes were presented by instructors using solely abstract ideas (numbers and symbols). While this has succeeded for some students, others find it challenging to comprehend arithmetic concepts without tangible or visual representation.

### Elementary Math Concepts that Learners Should Master

According to Zecher, in basic math, students must understand four conceptual boundaries that serve as the basis for later arithmetic levels. They are as follows:

- Pattern Recognition and Subitizing – The ability to quickly recognize quantity, also known as subitizing, is a fundamental idea in arithmetic and one of its foundations. Patterns are the greatest method to perceive quantity. Developing a good number sense requires the capacity to visualize numbers. It paves the way for operational fluency and a better grasp of numerical connections. Recognizing dice patterns is an example of subitizing: Without having to count or touch each dot, the amount or quantity may be best understood visually. Similarly, it is critical to identify number bonds and comprehend that numbers may be deconstructed or broken down (8 into 3 and 5 or 2 and 6).

- Place Value – Using craft sticks to teach place value is a perfect way to use multisensory tutoring methods. Learners may watch the amount change and feel a greater weight as the number becomes bigger. Similarly, it assists students in visualizing the difference between a number’s standard (the number’s name = 125) and extended form (what it is composed of = 100 + 20 + 5).

- Distributive Property – This relates to a learner’s capacity to act on larger amounts while also knowing that those quantities may be broken down or decomposed and then worked on. Consider the number 15 multiplied by three. Students must first learn that 15 may be broken down into 10 and 5. They may then distribute (multiply) 3 and combine the results to get 15 x 3.

- What exactly is ONE, and what are its many names? – This relates to the idea that every number written over itself equals one. As a result, multiplying or dividing by one affects the composition of the amount rather than the quantity itself.

### Getting Started on Multisensory Elementary Math Techniques

Literacy and reading instruction was the first to use multisensory math course teaching techniques. However, learning experts have shown that the same multimodal method may be successfully used when teaching arithmetic, mainly in basic math using the CRA framework.

When starting with multisensory math tutoring, it is important to start with the students’ abilities. The CRA technique may then be used to teach new ideas. Manipulatives are essential in multimodal math teaching, particularly in primary school, but they do not have to be costly. The following are some examples of frequently 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 multisensory basic math teaching techniques suggested by Westchester multisensory math tutor:

- Visualizing using manipulatives such as beads, color tiles, or blocks is a great way to teach fundamental operations such as addition and subtraction. Young learners get a better grasp of how arithmetic operations operate by seeing how amounts change. Visualization also aids in the understanding of quantities and the development of number sense in youngsters.

- Building forms using cubes or tiles provides youngsters with a tangible and physical representation of dimensions and characteristics.

- Drawing math problems is an excellent method to reinforce hands-on exercises since it allows students to demonstrate their reasoning and the idea they have learned.

- Children may “feel” the worth of numbers by tapping out numbers. It assists pupils in better understanding and connecting symbols and real numbers.

- Songs are used to assist students in remembering arithmetic principles and teach new ideas.

- Through play and games, we can include movement in arithmetic.

- To teach regrouping and place value, use bundling sticks or coffee stirrers. This may also be accomplished using base ten blocks.

- A hundreds chart is a great method to educate youngsters about number connections.

- Fractions are introduced and taught by cutting pizza into pieces. When you cut up a paper or cardboard pizza, children may see what fractions look like when they choose pieces.

Here are helpful resources:

- Free, ready-to-use classroom resources for all students
- Applying the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Math Lesson Planning
- ASDEC Multisensory Math I Course
- Math Print and Digital Resources
- 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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### Westchester Multisensory Math Strategy That Really Works

Number Lines – A number line visually depicts a number, such as a fraction, an integer, or a whole number. The numerals are uniformly spaced on a straight line, allowing pupils to see numerical sequences. Number lines may be used to compare and arrange numbers and teach counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing methods.

Addition – Addition is defined as merging two or more groups of items into a single group as one of the fundamental arithmetic operations. In mathematics, addition is the sum or total of two or more numbers. Learners must also understand the properties of addition to work with numbers more effectively.

Subtraction – Subtraction is a mathematical operation in which a quantity is subtracted from the total. Subtraction, like addition, has characteristics that are essential for understanding operations. Subtraction is subject to the identity property and inverse operations. However, it is neither commutative nor associative.

Division – This operation refers to dividing a large number into smaller groups or dividing a large number into equal pieces. It is the opposite of multiplication. The commutative and associative properties of real numbers do not apply to division.

Multiplication – In mathematics, multiplication refers to calculating the sum of two or more integers by adding them repeatedly. A multiplicand (the number multiplied by another number), multiplier (the number multiplied by it), and the product or outcome of multiplying are all included in a multiplication statement. Multiplication possesses commutative, associative, identity, and distributive properties.

Fractions – Fractions divide numbers into equal pieces. It is made up of a numerator, which is the number of equal parts tallied, and a denominator, which is the total number of equal parts in one whole. Fractions are classified into three types: proper, improper, and mixed fractions.

Decimals – A decimal is a method of writing fractions. It is made up of a whole number and a bit of a whole number (any portion less than one), separated by a dot or decimal point. Decimals are expressed on a ten-point scale (tenths, hundredths, thousandths, and so on).

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