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Drawing is a fun activity for kids. The mixing of colors and the forming of shapes empowers them and allows them to UNLEASH their creativity. In addition to the fun, drawing is a powerful learning tool. Incorporating visuals into lessons can help improve memory and understanding. Graphic representation benefits later learning, especially in science texts.

STEAM

In science classes, children are often asked to draw the experiment or their understanding of what is happening. Throwing words at them such as electron rings, evolution chain, and double-helix wouldn’t make much sense. However, with pictures, charts and other visual aids, children begin to understand how elements of the world fit together. At DrawnToDiscover, many of our lessons involve diagrams and labeling of the images. This technique builds vocabulary and an overall deeper understanding of material.

We interviewed students that learned to draw with Wendy in K and 1st and most all of them mentioned the usefulness that being confident in drawing had in many of their science, biology and  chemistry classes. Drawing is information gathering. It is also a skill that tells your teacher your understanding of a topic. 

The Drawing Effect is Real

In her book, The Case for Handwriting, Jennifer Fink demonstrates how fine motor control, memory, and learning are highly connected, and doing things with the hands is very important. In a research study by Wammes, Meade, and Fernandes, The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory, tested and observed this effect (see chart below). Graphic representation has proved to be a positive impact on later learning. This study dives deeper to determine why by examining the drawing effect and its impact on the learning of lengthier definitions of academic terms consisting of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, together describing a concept.

Memory

The experiment consisted of three main testing groups. All groups of young-adults were shown a series of target words to be remembered. One group was asked to draw the words, one group was asked to write the words, and one group only viewed the words. Wammes, Meade, and Fernandes reported that in all cases words were best remembered when they were drawn. 

Results

The observed gains in memory performance apply consistently across tasks, settings, and populations and occur within as well as between subjects. This means that worldwide K-12 and beyond, drawing is a superior memory tool. The evidence provided here demonstrates that drawing can, and does, improve memory performance dramatically.

drawing improves memory more than writing down words
The green represents the group asked to draw the words and the pink represents the group asked to write the words. The right side is the older group and the left side is the younger group.

 

In the education field, accessing the powerful memory tool of drawing can help quicker build a child’s vocabulary and allow them to better express themselves. Visuals encourage both the elaboration of meaning and the translation into one’s own words. Additionally it engages hand movements and improves fine motor skills. When a student or child draws a picture, they are actively involved in their own learning process. At DrawnToDiscover, we strive to get children to use BOTH hands, their thumb and fingers, with eyes and ears engaged all at once. This IGNITES their potential and unleashes happiness!

 

~Caleigh Cramer and Ms. Wendy

 

Sources

Fink, Jennifer L. W.: The Case for Handwriting

Wammes, Meade, and Fernandes: The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory

 

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Building Block 3: Visual Literacy

 

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