Recent Singapore Math in the news

Photo credit Monica Lim

There have been several items in various news outlets this past week.

From comes the story: Wellesley math teachers learn Singapore techniques from Tenacre specialist

Although the Wellesley district  is not considering adopting a Singapore Math curriculum, they asked a a teacher from another school to demonstrate one of Singapore Math’s well-known strategies, the bar model method of  solving word problems. Jen MacPherson, Wellesley Public Schools’ elementary math coordinator may look at further professional development for the teachers:

Kids struggle with word problems. This is an easy tool to use in any curriculum.

Model drawing is a hot topic! The School Board in Briarcliff agrees. Their budget includes:

Approval for consultants to train kindergarten through sixth grade teachers in the Singapore Math Model Drawing Method.

And in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser is a brief snippet amongst a story about a Hawaiian charter school that began in a chicken coop:  With stable teaching staff and financial aid, Waianae school is model for student success

Principal Alvin Parker cites Singapore Math as helping the school meet turnaround goals:

The school adopted Singapore Math in the fall of 2009, and math proficiency jumped from 27 percent of students to 37 percent over the course of that school year, helping the school make “adequate yearly progress.”

Finally, blogger writes about her life with kids in Singapore and periodically includes interesting math problems as well as issues with the PSLE and education in Singapore. She recently posted a couple of interesting problems and student solutions: Revisiting maths models.


Solving SAT problems using the model method

David Marain over at MathNotations has been periodically tweeting an SAT problem of the day via @dmarain. A recent series of tweets asked:

A 42 oz mix of nuts is 6 parts peanuts to 1 part cashews. How many ounces of cashews must be added to make a make the mixture 2 parts cashews to 1 part peanuts? Does Singapore (bar) model method work here?

Sure it can! Here’s one solution.

First model the beginning mixture at 6:1.

Singapore Math bar model

Next, we can figure out how many units need to be added to the cashews to make the cashews to peanuts ratio 2:1.

Singapore Math Model diagram - after

Since there are 11 additional units and the value of each unit is 6 oz, we can find the value of the added cashews.

Singapore Math units

66 ounces of cashews must be added to the peanuts to make the mixture 2:1.
Changing Ratios is taught in level 6A in the Primary Mathematics materials (U.S. Edition), typically used in 6th grade classrooms.