The students in Singapore consistently top the world in math achievement. It makes sense to consider using the same math curriculum they use. Singapore Math is the name given to the math curriculum developed in the country of Singapore and now used in many schools and districts across the U.S. The math content in Singapore Math is the same as the math content that we were taught in school. The content hasn’t changed. The most different about Singapore Math is the philosophy about what is to be emphasized and the pedagogy about how the content is taught. The word “elementary” in “elementary school mathematics” from a Singapore Math perspective means fundamental and foundational. It does not mean easy or simple. Singapore Math recognizes that for children, what they learn in elementary school is the basis of all future math learning and thus focuses on problem solving.
What makes Singapore Math such a strong curriculum?
- Singapore Math emphasizes the development of strong number sense, excellent mental-math skills, and a deep understanding of place value.
- The curriculum is based on a progression from concrete experience – using manipulatives – to a pictorial stage and finally to the abstract level or algorithm. This sequence gives students a solid understanding of basic mathematical concepts and relationships before they start working at the abstract level.
- Singapore Math includes a strong emphasis on model drawing, a visual approach to solving word problems that helps students organize information and solve problems in a step-by-step manner.
- Concepts are taught to mastery, then later revisited but not re-taught. The Singapore approach focuses on developing students who are problem solvers
The Singapore Math curriculum is concept-based, with a progression from visual to pictorial to abstract that ends with mastery. It is not “New Math” – it is math the way it should be taught; math the way mathematicians understand it…. It is conceptual, not algorithmic; visual not rote, and it is fun. Fun to teach and fun to learn, since it is based on understanding, not memorization.