Learn with Diagrams

Learn with Diagrams

Most of us are familiar with diagrams in science classes. If you studied earth science, you probably were shown diagrams about Volcanoes. Diagram showing the cross-section of a stratovolcano

This is a diagram of a Stratovolcano. These are the volcanos like Mt. Fuji in Japan that have the beautifully pointed top.

This particular sort of diagram can be especially helpful. You can test yourself by naming the different parts of the volcano and then checking to see how you did.

How much do you know about volcanoes? How many of these parts could you name? The answers are below.

1. Magma reservoir or chamber
2. Bedrock                                     3. The Conduit or pipe              4. Base of the volcano                      5. Sill                                            6. Dike                                       7. Layers of ash
8. Flank of the volcano                 9. Layers of hardened Lava     10. The throat of the volcano
11. Parasitic Cone                       12. Lava flow                            13. Vents
14. Crater                                    15. Ash Cloud
A  yellow flower with parts labeledThis picture, showing the parts of the flower, is typical of those found in a life science or biology class. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to understand a written description of this information?

The only thing I’d want to add to these labels is that the Stigma and Style form the pistil. This and the ovary (filled with ovules) is the female part of the flower.

The stamen (or male part is on the right. the long green part is the filament, the yellow lump at the top is the anther and it is covered with pollen (similar to sperm).

I think students need to understand that flowering plants reproduce when the pollen (like sperm) lands on the pistil and travels down the style to the ovary where it fertilizes the ovules.

I once explained this to an 8th grade class. One girl looked horrified. “I got buttercup pollen on my nose. Does that mean I might get pregnant?” “No, I told her. “Not unless you’re a female buttercup. Besides, I’ve never heard of getting pregnant from having sperm on their nose.”

Another way to use diagrams for learning is to draw your own diagram. Here is a diagram I drew of a nerve cell. a hand-drawn diagram of a nerve cell

When you copy a diagram or create your own original diagram, you will remember it longer. To remember this or the diagram of the flower, the best way to study them is to take a blank sheet and draw the diagram by memory.

While many diagrams are used for science, I have a favorite math diagram, one I created.This chart of the number system shows how different types of numbers are related.

 If you have ever been confused when your math teacher talks about integers and irrational numbers, this diagram should make the relationships clear.

1. Start on the lower left side. When you first learned to count, you started with one, not zero. It doesn’t matter how far you count. These are the COUNTING numbers.
2. The box around this add only the zero.  The counting numbers plus zero are the WHOLE numbers.
3. The next box out is the RATIONAL numbers. Fractions, and decimals, as well as all whole numbers can be expressed as a ratio. That’s why they are all called rational. It’s not the same meaning as a person who thinks rationally.
4. The next box outward adds in those strange numbers, the IRRATIONAL numbers, that cannot be expressed as a whole number or fraction. When you write them as a decimal, the numbers go on and on without repeating. Then notice at the top. When you add the irrational numbers to the others, you now have REAL numbers.
5.  And if those were real, the next numbers are not real. They are imaginary. NOTE: the term complex numbers DOES NOT include all the numbers in the group.  This time the relationship is different. When you combine any real number with an imaginary number, the result is a COMPLEX number.

Some of you will not have studied this yet in math. The point of this diagram on a page about diagrams is to illustrate how much easier the relationships are to understand with a diagram. If you only read the material you’d have a hard time understanding it and a worse time remembering it.

Next you might want to look at    compare and contrast charts


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