Hola Parents! We are excited to introduce Math Night with Noga Collins on Tuesday, November 9th, 6-8 pm in our Community Room. You may remember Noga from our Back to School night in September, and she returns again to present about Singapore math. There will be time at the end for Q & A. Do you have some questions for Noga? Please email those to Dani or drop them off at the school and we’ll get them to Noga in advance.
What is Sinapore math and why do we and others around the globe think it is so great? Below is a snippet from Noga on what we’ll be learning about this week. We hope you can join us to learn more about this program and why we have such high aspirations for our students.
The Singapore Math philosophy. Learning math is more than acquiring basic concepts and skills. It is about understanding and acquiring underlying mathematical thinking. Through the learning and applying of mathematical concepts, students develop thinking processes, reasoning, numerical competence, and problem solving skills. Mathematics in not just an end to itself, it is the means to gain competency in everyday life skills as well as a basic foundation in the study of science.
How does Singapore Math achieve this?
Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract. Whenever a new topic is introduced, it starts with hands-on experience. Manipulatives and real life objects are used to demonstrate the concepts. After first-hand and hand’s on experience, the math problems easily flow into a picture that illustrates the concepts. The pictorial concept is used to make the transition into abstract and mental math easier to comprehend.
Number Sense. Number sense is the basis of mathematical understanding. It is the flexibility and fluency with numbers that is based on visual understanding of place value (ones, tens, hundreds), number manipulation (addition, subtraction), and relationships between numbers (e.g. six is one more than 5).
Mental Math. Mental math is the final step in number mastery. It is not a speedy retrieval of memorized facts. It is used to review learned concepts and the exploration of alternative ways of seeing relationships and connection between numbers. Estimation is a big part of this, also learning the importance of 10’s, 100’s, 1000’s.
Depth vs. Breath. The number of lessons at each grade level is approximately one-third of other math programs. However, the number of pages and related exercises for each lesson is significantly more (six or more times). The concepts are studied in-depth and in detail before moving onto the next topic.
Upward Spiral. Every topic is taught to mastery. Every new tool acquired is added to the toolbox, integrated and used in other topics. Every year’s materials build upon the solid foundations of previous years and keep moving forward, while other curriculum, such as Everyday Math, keep revisiting topics and gaining very little mastery.
Word Problems – The Bar Graph Model. The heart of Singapore math is superb word problems, and it starts at our school with our first graders. The key to effectively solving the word problems is the unique Singapore Bar Graph Model. If you can graph it you can solve it! Students draw a diagram to help them solve story problems. In other curriculum, students are taught to use a method called “Guess and Check” trying combinations of numbers until the right numbers are found.
Interested in learning more? Here are a few links to online articles about Singapore Math:
Miracle Math: http://educationnext.org/files/ednext20064_38.pdf
What the United States can learn from Singapore’s World-Class Mathematics System: http://www.air.org/expertise/index/?fa=viewContent&content_id=598
Review of math programs from the Illinois Loop: What is your Child’s Math Program – http://www.illinoisloop.org/mathprograms.html