Comparing Singapore Math Materials

One of the most Frequently Asked Questions I get is, “Which “Singapore Math” curriculum  should we use?”

There are a lot of differences between the series’ and yet, they are alike in many ways as well. To help you compare the main curriculums that have been released in the past few years, this page includes some examples and a lesson sequence by level that you can reference.

Before continuing, I should say right up front that I was on the writing team for Dimensions Math, and authored the Teacher’s Guides (k-5). In addition, my co-presenter for Jumpstart Your Singapore Math since 2021 was on the writing teams for both Math in Focus 2020 and Primary Mathematics 2022.

There are three updated main textbook options for schools considering a Singapore Math® program:

  • Dimensions Math
  • Math in Focus 2020
  • Primary Math 2022

In addition, there are older options of Primary Mathematics:

  • U.S. Edition
  • Standards Edition
  • Common Core Edition

Math in Focus also has editions from 2010, 2015, and 2018, which will be discontinued in 2023.

What makes these updated versions different from older materials? The emphasis on Singapore’s Three Phases of Learning:

From Teaching Primary School Mathematics: A Resource Guide (2009)
From Primary Mathematics Teaching and Learning Syllabus (2012 and 2020)


Each curriculum includes components  of this model  using different terminology:

Dimensions Math

  • Chapter Opener
  • Think
  • Learn
  • Do
  • Practice

Math in Focus 2020

  • Chapter Opener/Recall Prior Knowledge
  • Think
  • Engage
  • Learn
  • Try
  • Math Journal
  • Put on Your Thinking Cap
  • Performance Task
  • Steam

Primary Mathematics 2022

  • Chapter Opener/Recall
  • Task
  • Learn
  • Learn Together
  • Practice on Your Own
  • Performance Task
  • Steam Project Work
  • Chapter Practice

Additional Lesson Components

Each of these sets of materials also includes additional lessons worked into the Chapter Planning Guides. For space, these are not repeated in the chapter-by-chapter Lesson Sequence included below. 

Dimensions Math:

  • Chapter Openers can be one day, or a brief review depending on student prior knowledge.
  • Each Chapter has between 1 and 3 Practice Lessons that apply and synthesize the previous lessons in the chapter.
  • Each level has quarterly Reviews that are cumulative. (Level 5 has 5 of these Reviews)

Math in Focus 2020

  • Chapter Opener/Recall Prior Knowledge activities and assessments start each chapter off as a one-day lesson.
  • Each chapter concludes with additional lessons:
    • Math Journal/Put on Your Thinking Cap! (Typically 1 day)

    • Chapter Wrap-Up/Chapter Review/Performance Task (Can be multiple days)

    • Steam Project Work (Some Chapters, Not all)

Primary Mathematics 2022

  • The title has been shortened to “Primary Math” below to save space.
  • Chapter Opener/Recall activities and assessments start each chapter off as a one-day lesson
  • Most chapters conclude with additional lessons
    • Chapter Wrap-Up/Performance Task
    • Steam Project Work
    • Chapter Practice (can be two-days)
    • Solve! Heuristics

Lesson Sequence

Curriculum Materials

Dimensions Math

  • Teacher’s Guides A & B
  • Textbooks A & B
  • Workbooks A & B
  • Tests A & B
  • Blackline Masters (Online) 
  • Letters home (Online)
  • Online Component

Math in Focus 2020

  • Teacher’s Guides A & B
  • Student Book A & B
  • Extra Practice and Homework
  • Reteach
  • Enrichment
  • Online Component

Primary Math 2022

  • Teacher’s Guides A & B
  • Student Book A & B
  • Reteach
  • Extension
  • Assessments
  • School to Home Letters (Online)
  • Online Component

Curriculum Samples

Coming Soon!

About Cassy Turner

Passionate about Singapore Math + Teacher Trainer and Coach + Treasure Hunter + Learner. Answer to the ultimate question? 42.

Comparing Singapore Math Materials: Teacher’s Guides

First in a three-part series

I thought it might be interesting to provide examples of how a lesson is presented in four different sets of Singapore Math materials. Part 1 compares the materials where a lesson begins – the Teacher’s Guide. The rest of the series will include textbooks and workbooks.

All four sets of materials are listed below. The two editions of Primary Mathematics are currently in use throughout the United States. My Pals Are Here and Shaping Maths are currently in use in Singapore.

This overview doesn’t include the Math in Focus series by Marshall Cavendish and exclusive United States distributor Great Source (A division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)  which will be available soon in the United States.  Representatives at the NCTM Conference in Washington, D.C. stated that the Math in Focus content is based on the  Singaporean edition of  My Pals Are Here, with U.S. money and measurement the main additions. A listing of key topics can be found on the Great Source site.

The materials are all from the third grade level:

  1. Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition (2003)  from
  2. Primary Mathematics Standards Edition (2008)  from
  3. My Pals Are Here Maths (2007) obtained in Singapore from Marshall Cavendish
  4. Shaping Maths (2007) obtained in Singapore from Marshall Cavendish

Most people will display the cover of a book. You get the title, authors and little else. The back of the book,  however, contains more interesting information. (Exception? The Primary Mathematics-U.S. Edition) These are from the 3A Teacher Guides and provide a brief overview of each series. For your reading ease, each thumbnail links to a full-sized file.





For comparison, I will be using the first lesson in the 3A materials from the unit on addition within 10,000  that introduces regrouping in the hundreds. All materials use the term “renaming” except My Pals Are Here, which uses “regrouping”.

Below are the names, pages and the stated objectives for the lesson from the corresponding Teacher’s Guide along with one page as an example:


Primary Mathematics-U.S.: Adding Ones, Tens, Hundreds and Thousands (p. 22)

  • Add numbers within 10,000.


Primary Mathematics-Standards: Adding Ones, Tens, Hundreds and Thousands (p. 74)

  • Review of addition of numbers up to 3 digits.
  • Adding thousands with another number up to 4 digits with renaming once.


My Pals Are Here: Addition With Regrouping in Hundreds (p. 40)

  • Add two 4-digit numbers with regrouping in hundreds using concrete representation.
  • Show regrouping of hundreds to thousands and hundreds.
  • Carry out vertical column addition by adding the hundreds first then the thousands with regrouping in the hundreds place
  • Add without place value charts.


Shaping Maths:Addition (p. 56)

  • To add 4-digit numbers with renaming once.
  • To add 4 digit numbers with renaming more than once.

Both My Pals Are Here and Shaping Maths have a larger sized Teacher’s Guide (A4 size). This allows the publisher to include each page from the textbook, surrounded by:

My Pals Are Here: instructional objectives, instructional procedures, key concepts, materials, additional activities, individual work, heuristic for problem solving and thinking skills

Shaping Maths:  objectives, lesson, materials, classroom organisation, vocabulary, general learning difficulties, IT, notes and textbook practice

The Teacher’s Guide for Primary Mathematics – Standards provides much more guidance.  The layout of the material is more familiar to most teachers and looks a bit more like a typical American teacher manual.  Although the Standards Edition provides California Standards, it would be easy to correlate these to another state’s standards. As a design, I like the spiral binding that allows the book to lay flat.

As we will see in the rest of the series, you should not choose a set of materials based on the Teacher’s Guide alone.

Next in the series:

Part 2 – Textbooks
Part 3 – Workbooks

About Cassy Turner

Passionate about Singapore Math + Teacher Trainer and Coach + Treasure Hunter + Learner. Answer to the ultimate question? 42.