Bar Modeling

Visual and strategic thinking

The major benefit of learning bar modeling strategies for solving problems is that students who use them develop visual and strategic thinking in approaching any problem-solving. Recognizing problem types (such as part-whole and comparison models) helps students activate prior knowledge and apply it to solve unfamiliar problems. Instead of relying on guesswork and key words that foster blind memorization, students who acquire these powerful problem-solving strategies develop conceptual understanding, true mastery and build confidence that lasts for life.

Bar Modeling is a pictorial representation of mathematical quantities and their relationships. It helps students visualize abstract mathematical concepts to gain deeper understanding of the operations they need to use in order to solve word problems. Bar Modeling improves student problem solving abilities because visual representations of word problems allow students grasp them in their entirety (wholes) with minimum effort. Bar Modeling allows students organize textual information and then restructure it visually in a model. It helps students think holistically, gain insight and then solve the problem.

Bar Modeling is a term that was coined in the United States. The original term is the Model Method that was developed in Singapore in the 1980s. Bar Models are also called Tape Diagrams or Strip Diagram in Common Core and Next Generations Standards in Mathematics.