Mastering the Art of Strip Diagram for Math: A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding the basics is crucial in every aspect of life, and this can’t be more true when it comes to the foundational subject of mathematics. One fundamental concept that often gets overlooked but plays a significant role in solving complex math problems is the strip diagram.
Our comprehensive guide focuses on in-depth exploration and mastering the concept of strip diagrams for maths thereby improving problem-solving abilities, and making math a lot more enjoyable.

Understanding Strip Diagrams in Math

A strip diagram, also known as a bar model, fraction strip, length model, or tape diagram, is a visual tool that represents and simplifies complex math problems. It makes use of different shapes and lengths to symbolize mathematical relationships and operations in a more clearly understandable way.

The Importance of Strip Diagrams in Math

Why is the usage of strip diagrams so widespread in the field of mathematics? These diagrams play a vital role because they can help students understand and break down complex problems, fostering deep comprehension rather than mere rote learning.

How to Construct Strip Diagrams

To gain a visual understanding of a complex problem, the first step is to know how to create a strip diagram appropriately.

  1. Identify the parts of your mathematical equation. Usually, there are two or three numbers and a mathematical operation involved.

  2. Draw your strip. Create a rectangular bar to represent the largest number.

  3. Divide your strip. If there are smaller numbers, divide the strip proportionally.

  4. Apply the mathematical operation. Use the symbol indicated by your mathematical operation.

Examples of Strip Diagrams in Math

A practical demonstration will cement your understanding of the concept of strip diagrams in math. Here are examples that utilize both addition and subtraction, and multiplication and division.

Strip Diagram for Addition and Subtraction

If you have an equation such as 7 – 4 = ?, then your strip diagram would have a larger strip representing 7, and a part of it representing 4, labeled appropriately. The rest of the strip represents the answer to the problem.

Strip Diagram for Multiplication and Division

For an equation like 5 * 3 = ?, the strip diagram would be divided into five equal parts, and each labeled 3, to indicate multiplication.

When to Use Strip Diagrams in Math

One of the great aspects of strip diagrams is their versatility. They can be used when working with problems that involve different operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Moreover, strip diagrams are incredibly effective with multi-step word problems and problems involving fractions and ratios.

Advanced Strip Diagramming

Once you get the hang of strip diagrams, you can even use them in more complex mathematical problems like ratio comparisons, fractions, and algebra. For instance, in Algebra, you can represent unknown quantities with strip diagrams, which simplifies the equation solving process drastically.

Role of Strip Diagram in Modern Math Teaching

Global curriculums like Singapore Maths and others integrate strip diagrams in their teaching methodology. It is considered to be beneficial for the development of analytical and logical thinking among students.


The usage of strip diagrams in math holds massive potential for learning and understanding mathematical problems. With its simplistic and visual representation of complex operations, it can make problem-solving a breeze, regardless of the mathematical operation involved. Therefore, there’s no denying that strip diagrams are a handy tool that helps to enhance the problem-solving ability and imbibe a deeper understanding of math concepts among learners.

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