The Frayer Model for Math

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Learning to Use the Frayer Model in Math

Problem Solving Template. D. Russell

The Frayer model is a graphic organizer that was traditionally used for language concepts, specifically to enhance the developmental of vocabulary. However, graphic organizers are great tools to support thinking through problems in math. When given a specific problem, we need to use the following process to guide our thinking which is usually a four step process:

  1. What is being asked? Do I understand the question?
  2. What strategies might I use?
  3. How will I solve the problem?
  4. What is my answer? How do I know? Did I fully answer the question?

These 4 steps are then applied to the Frayer model template to guide the problem-solving process and develop an effective way of thinking. When the graphic organizer is used consistently and frequently, over time, there will be a definite improvement in the process of solving problems in math. Students who were afraid to take risks will develop confidence in approaching the solving of math problems.

Let's take a very basic problem to show what the thinking process would be for using the Frayer Model:


A clown was carrying a bunch of balloons. The wind came along and blew away 7 of them and now he only has 9 balloons left. How many balloons did the clown begin with?

Using the Frayer Model to Solve the Problem

  1. UnderstandI need to find out how many balloons the clown had before the wind blew them away.
  2. Plan: I could draw a picture of how many balloons he has and how many balloons the wind blew away.
  3. Solve: The drawing would show all of the balloons, the child may also come up with the number sentence as well.
  4. Check: Re-read the question and put the answer in written format.

Although this problem is a basic problem, the unknown is at the beginning of the problem which often stumps young learners. As learners become comfortable with using a graphic organizer like a 4 block method or the Frayer Model which is modified for math, the ultimate result is improved problem-solving skills. The Frayer Model also follows the steps to solving problems in math. 
See the grade by grade problems and algebra problems.