Friday, April 16, 2010

Math problems of the week: 3rd grade Investigations vs. Singapore Math

1. The third of the three investigations in the 3rd grade Investigations Landmarks in the Hundreds booklet:

2. The final exercise in the first chapter of the 3rd grade Singapore Math Primary Mathematics 3A workbook, "Numbers to 10,000":

3. Extra Credit:

Estimate the ratio of effort to learning in each assignment.


Jean said...

Thanks for your very informative blog! Yes, I am now convinced that I prefer Singapore to Everyday Math, which is what is being taught in my kindergartner's school. I have a question... there seem to be several different kinds of Singapore Math workbooks and texts for sale. Do you have any insights into choosing among them? Apologies if you have addressed this question already!

bky said...

Jean -- for grades K-6 (more or less) there are two series. One is the US edition and the other is the Standards Edition. The US edition has been around for a while. It is great. I have used books 1(A, B) through 6(A, B) with my older kids. The Standard Ed. is set up to match California's standards for math curriculum. At grade 1 there is not a big difference. So for my current 7-year old I am using the Standards Ed., mainly because I expect the US ed to be phased out, although I don't really know. I have seen the Standards Ed. book 6 and did not like it. One good change is that introduce negative numbers. For some reason, Singapore Math had previously avoided negative numbers through all levels 1 - 6. That seems somewhat artificial (but something I have easily supplemented for at home). What I don't like is the introduction of probability and data handling. I think this is a trendy waste of time since nothing builds on that stuff. I prefer to stick to arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and word problems at those grade levels. Probability is not a key thing for kids of that age and there is a sizeable opportunity cost.

I don't think you can go wrong with either one. I have always used both the textbook, the workbook, and one of the extra books, either Challenging Word Problems, Intensive Practice, or Extra Practice.

Intensive Practice is the hardest book and has a nice combination of problems like from the workbook plus all sorts of puzzling problems that require some ingenuity, not just mastery of the material; I have not used Extra Practice yet but I have one on order for my son who needs extra practice but not something very challenging, just more repetitions. Challenging Word Problems is great. There are always two levels of problems (Practice and Challenging).

Jean said...

Thanks so much for your detailed answer! I have to say that as somebody who has worked professionally in statistics-related fields, I am interested to see how they deal with probability. So I will take a closer look at the Standards Edition. I also appreciate the distinction between the challenge, intensive, and extra practice books!

Dacia Myhre said...

I think that both Investigations and Singapore have much to offer. I incorporate both into teaching. I love the number sense activities offered by Investigations and the visual representations of Singapore. In fact, I created a free website for teachers to direct parents that want to help their children in math- I have used parts of both programs. You may want to see it: