## Thursday, August 2, 2012

### Math problems of the week: 4th grade Investigations vs. Singapore Math

I. The second problem set involving translation between numbers and words in the 4th grade Investigations Student Activity Book, (Unit 5, "Landmarks and Large Numbers," p. 6):

II. The first problem set involving translation between numbers and words in the 4th grade Singapore Math Primary Mathematics 4A Workbook, (Unit 1, "Whole Numbers," pp. 8-9):

Barry Garelick said...

Those who have a disdain for traditional approaches in teaching would view Singapore's approach as "drill and kill" and rote learning, while Investigations is a discovery-based approach in which students learn the rules for translation between numbers and words by observation.

KimS said...

What I find interesting about this is that Investigations' alleged strength is the number sense it helps students develop. Yet when you compare the Investigations lesson to the Singapore Math lesson, you see that Investigations doesn't even come close to Singapore in terms of the number sense needed to correctly answer the homework questions. It kind of calls into question that whole "superior number sense" argument the Investigations folks keep making.

Auntie Ann said...

I've been working my way through the 5A Singapore Primary (SE) Home Instructor's Guide, and the depth of the explanations and the approach to making sure that there is a deeper understanding of what is going on with numbers surpasses anything I was ever taught--and I had a good math curriculum way back in the 70's (and ended up with a degree in physics.)

It also is far and away beyond anything our now-7th grader learned in her EM classroom. The idea that only constructivist math tries to really teach underlying concepts, and the idea that SM is just drill and kill with no deeper number sense is absolutely ludicrous.

Though, perhaps that mistake is made by teachers who don't bother to read the teachers' guide and don't bother to teach this stuff properly in the first place.

Barry Garelick said...

The idea that traditional math as taught in the 50's and 60's was drill and kill with no deeper number sense is equally ludicrous. The fact that some teachers taught it poorly does not mean that it was always taught that way. Taught properly, it was very effective.