Math in Focus: A Singapore Math Approach is built around the framework that mathematical problem solving is central to mathematical thinking.
Since Community adopted the Singapore Math program, we have seen an increase in students’ ability to problem solve and truly understand why math works. Our standardized test scores are higher than independent school norms – in some areas significantly – and vastly higher than national norms, proving that this approach works. Also, as a result of this success, sixth graders have the opportunity to be in an accelerated math group, focusing on secondary school mathematics.
Through Singapore math, children develop a solid number sense from an early age. A consistent approach of concrete to pictorial to abstract encourages students to use blocks, chips, charts, and strips to solve problems. This approach supports a seamless transition to complex problems and algebra. In fact, children are doing algebra now at a much younger age - they’re just not aware they’re doing it!
It teaches children both how and why math works, giving them a deeper understanding that they will be able to transfer to real life situations. Rather than stressing rule memorization, this is a program that believes in digging deep into roots of reason. The math understanding model is designed at every stage so children attempt to ask questions pertaining to fundamental understanding of mathematics. They start asking (and answering) “why” rather than simply trying to remember rules.
Kaitlyn (2nd grade): "I like that we can do a lot of hands-on activities. The teachers encourage us to show examples of how we think and how we solve the problem."
The program addresses fewer topics in greater depth at each level. Lessons are built systematically and thoroughly. Students are given increasingly more intricate problems as they combine prior knowledge, problem solving strategies and critical thinking skills. By every measure, this approach is highly successful.
Ms. Reed: "Creating meaningful learning experiences for our students begins with a concrete approach. For example, when children are introduced to addition and subtraction with regrouping, they use base-ten blocks to create a strong understanding of the process. Children spend time physically regrouping the pieces so that later when they are asked to complete problems using the algorithm, they can visualize the process and know why the math works. Our students are comfortable explaining their thinking, and they have a flexibility that allows them to tackle real-world problems with confidence. Prior to using the Singaporean approach, I hadn’t seen children truly understand mathematical concepts in this way."