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  • Writer's pictureMegan Smones

What are Tape Diagrams and Why are they Important?

Mathematics is a subject that has a reputation for being difficult for many students, especially in the early years of their education. It requires a strong foundation in foundational math skills, such as problem-solving, number sense, and visualization. Tape diagrams are a powerful tool that can help children develop these essential skills.



Tape diagrams, also known as bar models, are visual representations of math problems that can help students better understand and solve them. They are particularly useful in helping children grasp the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In a tape diagram, a bar represents a quantity, and the length of the bar represents the value of that quantity. By drawing these diagrams, students can visualize the problem and identify the relationship between the quantities involved.


One of the reasons tape diagrams are so effective is that they provide a clear and intuitive visual representation of math problems. Many students struggle with abstract concepts, but tape diagrams help to make math more concrete and tangible. They also help children develop their problem-solving skills, as they learn to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts.


In addition to their effectiveness, tape diagrams are also versatile and can be used across different grades and levels of math. They can be used to solve problems involving fractions, ratios, and percentages, as well as algebraic equations.


If you're interested in learning more about tape diagrams, there are many resources available online. Here are three that parents can refer to:

  1. Math Coach's Corner: This website offers a range of resources for teachers and parents, including videos, worksheets, and lesson plans on how to use tape diagrams in the classroom.

  2. Khan Academy: This free online educational platform offers a wide range of video lessons on math topics, including tape diagrams. Their lessons are broken down into easy-to-follow steps and provide ample practice problems to help students master the concept. In addition to videos, Khan Academy also offers articles, quizzes, and interactive exercises to support student learning. Their website is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it an excellent resource for both parents and students.

  3. LearnZillion: This website provides a variety of video lessons on different math concepts, including an entire series on tape diagrams. The videos are designed for students in grades 2-6 and are free to access.

Tape diagrams are a powerful tool that can help children develop their foundational math skills. They provide a clear and intuitive visual representation of math problems, making math more concrete and tangible for students. As parents, the “new” math can be particularly difficult. There is a reason behind the madness and your child will have a stronger math foundation because of it.


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