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From Concrete to Abstract: How Singapore Math Fosters Understanding

From Concrete to Abstract: How Singapore Math Fosters Understanding

Are you ready for your child to unlock the true power of math? Silicon Valley Internationals School (INTL)'s approach to math is multifaceted and draws from curricula and best practices from around the world. We supplement resources and activities from a multitude of sources, with the backbone of our math program being Singapore Math - a modern and highly-regarded approach that emphasizes understanding and internalizing concepts for a comprehensive grasp of the material. 

Singapore Math differs in its philosophy to math education from many other math programs. The emphasis is on teaching students how to think mathematically, rather than just memorizing and repeating similar problems. This approach helps students to understand the underlying theory and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. 

Picture2 copyThe Singapore Math approach is based on a concrete, pictorial, and abstract learning theory. This means that students are first introduced to math concepts using concrete objects and manipulatives, such as blocks or counters. This hands-on approach helps students to really understand and internalize the concepts. 

Once they have a solid understanding of the concept using these concrete materials, they move on to using pictures and diagrams to represent the concept. This helps students to make connections between the concrete objects and the abstract symbols and equations they will encounter later on. Finally, students are asked to solve problems using abstract symbols and equations, demonstrating their mastery of the concept. 

_DSC2752One of the key features of Singapore Math is the use of the bar model method for solving problems. This method involves representing a problem visually using bars and boxes to represent quantities and relationships. This visual representation helps students to understand the problem and find the solution more easily. The bar model method is a powerful tool that helps students to make sense of complex problems and to develop their problem-solving skills. 

Another important aspect of Singapore Math is the emphasis on mental math and problem-solving skills. Rather than relying on rote memorization or calculator use, students are encouraged to use their mental math skills to solve problems and make connections between concepts. This approach not only helps students to develop their mental math skills, but also helps them to become more confident and independent learners.

_DSC2757 At INTL, our math program is made even richer when teachers make meaningful connections to the Units of Inquiry and to the real world. While most of our math is taught in a “stand alone” nature (not connected to the Units of Inquiry), when meaningful, our teachers creatively weave in connections between what students are learning in science, social studies, language, and other disciplines with their math objectives to deepen students' understanding and give real life context to what they are learning in math. Students may practice addition and subtraction through coding paths for Beebots, analyze population statistics and interpret data on people’s migration paths, apply their understanding of angles through taking the most appealing photos of food, or design a strong bridge using measurement skills.

 INTL’s approach to math emphasizes understanding and internalizing concepts for a comprehensive grasp of the material. Our students will not only gain a deeper understanding of math, but also develop their problem-solving and mental math skills, as well as the ability to make meaningful connections to the real world through our Units of Inquiry.



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