Singapore Math

The Program

The research-based Singapore Math curriculum provides students with a strong conceptual foundation in basic mathematics, for Kindergarten through 7th grade, with the goal of developing algebraic thinking. Algebra is a systematic approach to describing patterns and relationships and finding unknown numbers or quantities. It’s a complex tool and body of knowledge, requiring strong numeracy, procedural fluency, and an ability to be abstract. Singapore Math is the strongest curriculum available to prepare students for the explicit study of algebra, which begins in 8th grade.

This program emphasizes concepts and mental math while employing physical and graphical illustrations of underlying mathematical rules and phenomena. The curriculum presents mathematical skill building and problem solving such that students have a better understanding of not just when to use a particular equation – but why.

For example, students may begin with a problem of adding apples; say 2 apples and 1 apple. They may use counting manipulatives (like blocks) that illustrate more and less and how to regroup. The next step would have them represent the problem on paper, using numerical units, like 1s, 10s and 100s. Finally, they encounter the problem as 2+1=3. The benefit of this multiple representation approach, which treats the algorithm as present all along but not uncovered immediately, is the principal way in which Singapore Math develops number sense.

Singapore Math provides a solid foundation upon which to build mathematical literacy and prepares students to be successful in both advanced math courses such as Calculus or Statistics, and in the mathematical sciences such as Chemistry and Physics.

For additional information about Singapore Math, please visit their website.

Suggested Reading

In Arithmetic for Parents, Ron Ahoroni explains in plain language many critical components of elementary mathematics foundational to the concepts children learn in elementary school. Ahoroni dedicates much of his book to explaining the natural development of a child’s learning and masterfully ties that in with ways to approach specific topics. Arithmetic for Parents focuses on the subtle ideas that underpin key concepts such as place value and the four basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Why Singapore Math?

“Parents of students who are new to classical schools know that Singapore math is unlike any math curriculum they’re used to. Why? “Singapore Math is designed to complement the natural development of a child’s mathematical knowledge” writes Kathleen O’Toole, Assistant provost for K-12 Education at Hillsdale College. “It turns out that there is a logical order in which things should be taught, and that is particularly true in mathematics”. Click here to learn more.