Visual Chunking: Math

  • Situation

    How do I stop my student who knows his math very well, from screaming and head banging when he receives a math paper?

  • Summary

    “Chunk” your student’s math assignments to help them approach the task in a more manageable way.

    To get started, decide what type of visual chunking you will use: visual cues on the paper, redoing the paper visually, or cutting the paper into sections are a few options you may use.

    Show your student the chunked assignments and encourage them to work through them one at a time. This should decrease the negative behaviors that may arise due to math assignments and help your student see math as an approachable task.

  • Definition

    Organize items or tasks into manageable units. This “chunking” adaptation can appear to make school work “doable” to students, increasing on-task behavior and decreasing negative behavior towards the task. It can be effective for students whose working memory is compromised. There are a variety of ways visual chunking can occur.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites


  • Process

    1. Determine what work is difficult and perceived as “undoable” to the student.

    2. Make a decision on the type of visual chunking to use: visual cues on the paper, redoing the paper visually, cutting the paper into sections.

    3. Implement and reinforce completing work.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Examples of chunking Work (Word document)

    Examples of chunking (PDF)


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