Friday, February 25, 2011

Math problems of the week: 5th grade Investigations vs. Singapore Math

I. The third problem set in "Unit 4: What's that Potion?" in the 5th grade (TERC) Investigations Math Student Activity Book, Session 1.1:

Everyday Uses of Fractions, Decimals, and Percents

List in the spaces below the everyday uses you find for fractions, decimals, and percents. Cut out your examples from used magazines and newspapers, and attach them to this sheet.

Everyday Uses of Fractions

[space to attach]

Everyday Uses of Decimals

[space to attach]

Everyday Uses of Percents

[space to attach]

II. The third problem set in "Unit 3: Fractions" in the 5th grade Singapore Math Primary Mathematics Workbook 5A, pp. 53-54:

Add. Give each answer in its simplest form.


(a) 7/8 + 3/4 = 7/8 + ?/8 =

(b) 2/3 + 4/9 = ?/9 + 4/9 =

(c) 4/5 + 3/10 =

(d) 3/4 + 7/12 = 

(e) 5/6 + 2/3 =

(f) 1/2 + 9/ 10 =


(a) 1/6 + 3/4 = ?/12 + ?/12 =

(b) 5/9 + 1/2 = ?/18 + ?/18 =

(c) 1/2 + 3/5 =

(d) 2/5 + 3/4 =

(e) 9/10 + 1/6  =

(f) 3/10 + 5/6 =

III. Extra Credit

Speculate as to why supporters of Reform Math programs like Investigations say that Singapore Math is a good program but (i) refuse to consider using it and (ii) accuse anyone who even mentions Singapore Math of shilling for Singapore Math.


Anonymous said...

Extra Credit:
You need to really understand the math to teach Singapore math. And many American teacher do not.

Katharine Beals said...

Comment from Huck Finn: As I was drifting down the great divide on my raft, I couldn't help but notice the back and forth on Investigations, and the usual name calling and mischaracterizations of traditional math. I saw a similar battle a few years ago played out on the battlefield of Eduwonk concerning Everyday Math. And yes, those who supported Singapore Math were called the "Singapore Posse". The thread is here, archived in the annals of the Math Civil Wars:

Anonymous said...

Gee, I wish Singapore Math would pay me to "shill" for them!

Who cares if I, or anyone else is "shilling" for Singapore Math, because I wouldn't "shill" for any program that I thought was crummy.

Based on the examples provided here and elsewhere, Singapore is clearly superior to TERC Investigations and EDM. My oldest child, who follows Singapore Math at home taught by me and attends school in a TERC district, is used as a teacher's aide during math in his class because he already knows the content and the other kids don't and the teacher can't teach outside the confines of the Investigations lesson if she wants to keep her job.

Differentiated instruction, in an Investigations district, means the kids who get it or already know it get to teach it to their classmates.

delta_dc said...

I mentioned James Zull's book in another post (I won't repeat it here) but another piece on page 162 seems to fit:

"To support learners in understanding the results of a calculation, we should challenge them to think about the answer, to recall things in their life that are related to that answer, and to examine where their answer puts things in relation to each other."

Give this biology, it seems both examples are lacking. But then I always thought that any curriculum would need to be supplemented. There is no one size fits all textbook or approach.