Taking the research and bringing it into the classroom is the goal of many teachers. While several news stories around this new study cite having students count on their fingers as part of visualization, more advanced classes need to be more creative to provide visualization opportunities.
Some topics are easier than others. In geometry it's easy to work on symmetry or angles or even volume. Students can draw the concepts. Kinesthetic learners can fold or build structures. Visualizing surface area? Wrap a present!
Other concepts require a little more creativity. When we start linear equations, my students "build" linear equations from legos, blocks, pennies, or other manipulatives. Anything will work. We drew "squares" for examining squares and square roots. For compound interest as part of exponential growth, we use monopoly money. For functions, we create a function machine.
Of course, one key strategy for problem solving is sketching the problem. What is the question asking? What does the question look like? What would the answer look like? How do we get there? In the problem to the right, students can draw out the animals and count to problem solve before they can create the algebraic model for the problem.
The research supports what many of us already have found in our own classrooms. I struggle with some topics to figure out how to visualize problems, but I hope that additional research supporting visualization in math will continue the discussion among teachers and provide additional strategies, particularly for advanced mathematics classes.