It has been said that mathematics in it’s purest form, is the ultimate expression of the human mind. Yet many times our kids are facing a fear of Math, and are given a message that Math is neither fun nor necessary. In fact, it can be both, and our goal is to make sure that the students of New Summit have a strong command of mathematics, and that math instruction is both plentiful and grounded in real-world application.
Singapore Math is a teaching method based on the national mathematics curriculum used for kindergarten through sixth grade in Singapore since the1980’s.
“The term was coined in the United States to describe an approach originally developed in Singapore to teach students to learn and master fewer mathematical concepts at greater detail as well as having them learn these concepts using a three-step learning process: concrete, pictorial, and abstract. In the concrete step, students engage in hands-on learning experiences using concrete objects such as chips, dice, or paper clips. This is followed by drawing pictorial representations of mathematical concepts. Students then solve mathematical problems in an abstract way by using numbers and symbols.” – Wikipedia
In the concrete phase, students use manipulatives (such as blocks or buttons) to learn math concepts with a hands-on approach. Students learn addition and subtraction by physically adding or removing objects to or from a row or group.
The pictorial step teaches students how to draw diagrams, known as “bar models”. This process involves drawing bars in order to visualize the parts of an equation. This is useful not only for addition and subtraction but also for multiplication and division. These skills are particularly useful in solving word problems. Rather than trying to picture the elements of the problem in their head, the student will draw bars representing the different parts of the word problem. This allows younger children to solve more complex problems.
Once students have developed a thorough understanding of the concepts by using concrete objects and diagrams, they move on to abstract learning. The abstract phase moves from using physical objects and bar models, to the numbers and symbols used in traditional mathematics.
The Singapore Math curriculum has been used in the country of Singapore since the 1980’s. Singapore consistently ranks among the top countries in the world for math literacy.
Singapore math uses a layering approach, in which each skill builds upon the last. In the United States, many math curriculums use a spiral approach, in which skills that had been learned in the months or years prior are revisited. The Singapore curriculum focuses on mastering a fewer number of concepts each year, there isn’t a need to go back over those concepts months or years later. This slower approach allows more time for mastery and retention. Since students develop a deep understanding of how math processes work, they are typically prepared for more advanced math at earlier grade levels than is seen with many other math curriculums.
This curriculum meets and exceeds the standards mandated by the State Board of Education. The Singapore approach allows students to achieve a higher level of proficiency sooner than the traditional math curriculum.