What does Singapore Math consist of?

The 2,000 primary classes have adopted the Singapore Math. Objective: to make the learning of mathematics the most concrete to give meaning to this subject. 120,000 schoolchildren in 2,000 classes, from CP to CM2, study mathematics with the Singapore Math. Jean-Michel Banquet wants to go further. The Minister of Education announced Thursday that he entrusted a mission to the deputy of the Republic on the move Cedrick Villain to improve the teaching of math at school. And he mentioned the possibility of drawing inspiration from this method so that France can catch up in international rankings. For more information you can visit website esingaporemath.com 

Because each year, Singapore is at the top of international studies on education systems, including the famous Pisa or the Tim’s study. This E Singapore Math is in fact a synthesis of many didactic and pedagogical practices for the teaching of mathematics. It is already used in ten countries. Chas Garcia Piney is a teacher at the Acacias school in Marcos’s. She discovered the Singapore Math two years ago and is applying it with her CE1 class. She explains to express the benefits of this method. 

What does this method consist of? 

The principle is that the pupils do mathematics without realizing it. The child must understand before learning, how to understand why we write "5 + 3 = 8". For this, they observe and manipulate in a concrete way before moving on to a more abstract application. The goal is to always give meaning to exercises and to mathematical symbols and numbers. This involves the invention of stories from real situations or images and a new vocabulary. We thus speak of mathematical sentences, like "6 + 3 = 9". But to be in the concert, we will instead say "6 flowers + 3 flowers = 9 flowers" and use objects, such as multidirectional cubes or labels for games. The pupils must thus be able to appropriate the meaning of the "+", because at the beginning they see only a simple cross without understanding what its meaning is. 

Can you give an example of an exercise? 

A child has 5 red and 8 blue stickers. I ask the students what they can look for with these stickers. How many stickers are there in all? How much red, how much blue is there? How many are left if we remove the bruises? The pupils thus create the statements and will answer each question by asking themselves how to do it. And I then introduce the math sentences, like "5 + 8 = 13", with visual patterns and verbalization. The interest here is not to find the final solution, but to find what the good questions that one can ask oneself are. 

So children never learn by heart? 

No, except the multiplication tables of course which are essential to know to do certain operations. But there is no point in learning if we have not understood upstream and make sense of everything we learn. 

Don't all these steps take too long? 

In reality it is very fast. When the teacher starts using this method it takes a bit of time to set everything up. Last year program for 5th grade I told myself that I will not be finishing the program. The students finally all understood the meaning of the four operations and I even went beyond the program. So yes, doing exercises certainly takes time because we verbalize everything and we go slowly in the explanations, but when something is acquired it is for good. It's like the bicycle. 

Is group work also an important element? 

There is individual work, especially because we have to evaluate the students. But they also work a lot in pairs and in groups. This leads those who are more withdrawn to express themselves more. And those who understood explain the solution to the class. This brings them a lot, they help each other and the whole class progresses.

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