While Singapore Math is one of the more thorough math curricula we’ve seen, a number of supplements are available from the publisher for both students and teachers, most of them focused on building critical thinking skills. Math study is largely a utilitarian pursuit in Singapore, and these supplements underscore the practical angle.
Math Express is a series of six books for grades 1-6 used to enhance students’ test-taking skills through a series of timed math drills. Students begin by completing one or two basic problems in ten seconds or less before learning strategies for solving similar work in the least time possible. Worksheets and speed/accuracy tests ensure they've grasped each concept. The goal isn't so much speed as making basic functions second nature for young students.
Among the more unique Singapore supplements are the five Math Sprints books for grades 1-6. Essentially speed drill books, the problem sets are designed to bring elementary students to automaticity in solving basic grade-appropriate functions. For instance, in first grade they're solving pages and pages of number sequence problems, addition, subtraction, etc. By sixth grade, drills cover functions of fractions and decimal numbers, percents, and more. Students simply complete a page full of problems as quickly as they can, cementing basic knowledge to make room for more advanced concepts.
TheProcess Skills in Problem Solving books for grades 1-6 (in six volumes) augment the model approach implemented in the primary math curriculum with exercises intended to demonstrate why certain arithmetic operations work, not just how. These have replaced the books called I-Excel, and are essentially the same thing.
The Singapore Model Method for Learning Mathematics is a teacher’s manual containing the philosophy behind the Singapore math instructional method and its renowned concrete-to-abstract progression. A variety of examples present creative methods for teaching the material. The two Handbook for Mathematics manuals for teachers (one for elementary, one for secondary students) directs teachers away from commonly made mistakes, offers hints and information for proper presentation of concepts, and includes resources for student drill.
As with the standard Singapore math curriculum, these materials are of the highest quality and not just gimmicks to get you to spend more money. Each book focuses on the elements it is meant to teach and doesn’t get bogged down in useless repetition or endless drill. Students will need to work hard to keep up, but if they do they will think better and clearer in all areas, not just math.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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