How to Make a Diagram to Solve Fifth Grade Math

By Missy J. Talbot
Elimination helps you solve problems containing multiple equations.
Mathematik image by bbroianigo from

Diagrams are pictures of an idea. You can use a diagram for just about anything - to give instructions, to clarify a main point, or to solve a problem. Fifth grade math, which is all about place values, number systems, and advanced addition and subtraction as well as introductory multiplication and division, uses diagrams to help solve difficult problems. There are many instances in fifth grade math in which a diagram can help your students figure out the answer.

Step 1

Create a diagram to help with a difficult advanced level addition or subtraction problem. Fifth grade math focuses on adding and subtracting numbers with more than two digits. Draw a diagram with symbols to stand for tens and hundreds. Then draw symbols in a different color that represent the tens or hundreds you are taking a way or adding. Your diagram can be a visual representation of the math you are doing, and this will help your students better understand the problem.

Step 2

Draw a diagram to help you solve problems relating to place values. Place values are the ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, and other place values in a number. For example, in the number 132, the 1 is in the hundreds place, the 3 is in the tens place, and the 2 is in the ones place. Your diagram should include symbols that represent each place, such as 1 large brick to mean one hundred, 3 medium bricks to mean 30, and 2 small bricks to mean 2. The diagram gives you a visual representation of place values.

Step 3

Make a diagram for beginning multiplication and division problems. Write your multiplication or division problem at the top of the page, then draw exactly what is happening. For instance, for 2x2, draw two groups of items with 2 of each item in each group. Then count the items to see how many there are. For 4/2, draw a picture of something that has 4 pieces, and then divide those 4 pieces into 2 groups. Count how many pieces are in each group to teach your students how to solve the problem.

About the Author

Missy Talbot started writing professionally in 2000. She has been published in "Grass Roots" magazine, "LifeTimes" magazine and on the websites TeacherWeb and The Teacher's Corner. Talbot holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Master of Arts in publishing. She is working on a Ph.D. in journalism.