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This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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How to Address Difficulties in Math

The third chapter deals with the analysis of the instruments for addressing difficulties in mathematics.




How to address Difficulties and Learning Disabilities in Math

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2. Designing the Intervention Tools – Guidelines

Once identified the areas of difficulties through the B2 questionnaire, it is possible to design educational activities especially conceived for students with Mathematical Learning Disabilities - MLD and with a specific attention on the inclusion.

In particular, the Intervention Tools can be:

  • In the form of articulated activities that should be carried out with all the class, in a perspective of inclusion;

  • In the form of specific exercises that could help a student having difficulties or all the students of the class to work together on the same activity.


In section 4, we present some examples of intervention tools focused on the following mathematical objects:

  • Mental calculation, when difficulty is mainly related to the Memory cognitive area;

  • The meaning of variable and of expression depending on such a variable, when difficulty is mainly related to the Reasoning cognitive area;

  • Positional syntax in algebraic expressions, when difficulty is mainly related to the Visuo-spatial cognitive area;

  • Interpretation of graphs, when difficulty is mainly related to the Visuo-spatial cognitive area.


The following table (Table 6) presents the aforementioned mathematical objects and their connection with cognitive areas and mathematical domains.

Table 6: A first list of mathematical objects in the areas of difficulties identified through the B2 questionnaire.



As a general methodological comment, we point out that our aim is to design well-articulated teaching sequences, encompassing also group work and mathematical discussion under the orchestration of the teacher. The teaching sequences are conceived to address specific learning difficulty, within an inclusive perspective. The activities are not to be intended as mere exercises, unless they play the role of cognitive training. In cognitive training the student is led to perform a series of exercises that are focused in the same mathematical content, using ICT to have a repeated sequence.

In order to support the communication and sharing of intervention tools among partners and to all the teachers that may be interested into the project, we developed two templates for the presentation of the intervention tool.

  1. Template IO1F is a table to be filled by the author of an intervention tool, providing all the basic information on the intervention tool.

  2. Template IO1G contains the complete description of the intervention tool. In order to be auto-consistent, it should also contain the theoretical references that frame the design and implementation of the tool.


The templates are presented hereunder:




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The SMiLD project is funded by the European Commission through the Italian National Agency for the Erasmus+ Programme. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.