## Manipulatives - The benefits of using them with Singapore Math

Kim Schroter
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:17 am

### Manipulatives - The benefits of using them with Singapore Ma

My daughter is in 2nd grade and finishing up Singapore 1B. She did fairly well, but struggled with the subtraction methods.

Example: 82-6. Turn 82 into 70 and 12. Then, 12 minus 6 is 6, and 70 plus 6 is 76, so 82-6 is 76.

This was so hard for her to mentally understand that we just set it aside. I showed her some other methods (example: number line) and moved on to the next lesson.

My question, should we continue with Singapore 2A, move to a different math program, or go through 1A and 1B again?

By the way, that method of subtraction was hard for me to even grasp!

Kim
Married to John 12 years
Mother to Hannah 9 , Summer 7, Ruth 3 and Charlie 4 months
cbollin
I would set aside the books for a while and let it sink it. Use some kind of math blocks and physically move it around. Whatever you do to teach math at this stage, I think it helps to always have something touchable to teach from. Using number line is ok as well. I'd suggest you talk through it and give multi examples with blocks.

This method is setting up for a basis for subtraction the long, vertical way. That's what you do with a problem like that.

82
- 6

maybe you are familiar with the terms "borrow one from the 8 and put it with the 2". Well, that's not really what we are doing. We borrow one group of tens and put it with the 2 in the units place. and then keep going. So in essense, when you borrow, you are doing 70 +12 -6. Now if I could only draw that on this post..... then you think of it as 70 +(12-6). never mind. I just want to help you see that it is the same thing you're probably doing and just not seeing it. (ok --- I was that way)

Keep using blocks or pictures and use your hands to cover up the things that are being subtracted. It really helps to see it and helps the student. Let them cover it up with their fingers while you just tell them what to do. Then let them practice it without your instruction and they call it out loud while doing it. But don't just try to get her to do it in her head. That's not really the objective at 1B level.

Talk through the problem together and let her model the correct method even if all that happens is that she repeats it after you. Narration, dictation and copywork work in math as well as language arts. :)

Set it aside for a day
and just do some drills

skip ahead to the next page where it isn't covered -- maybe this would be a fun time to work on the money unit a few pages ahead.

come back in a few days. and practice some more.

Been there 5 days ago and right there with you :) Hang in there. Some times new ways to do stuff take a little more time.

If my brain weren't in a fog, I would try to type out what I did with our blocks. But I'm scared it will just confuse the situation. Maybe I'll wake up and wash my face and find an easy way to describe what I do. It's not that hard with blocks or drawings.

--crystal
LSH in MS
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am
IF you have 8 ten bars in the tens column and 2 units in the units column and 6 units underneath the 2 it is clear that you don't have enough units in the units column to take six away from. So you have to go over to the tens house and ask for a ten bar. He comes over to the units so now you have 12 in the units and 7 tens in the tens column. This you can subtract and get 76. This is very hard to do mentally at first so I would practice with manipulatives with her a lot because the answer is obvious when you see it. Eventually she would be able to do it mentally after a lot of visual practice to cement it.
Lori

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
cbollin
Yeah… Lori can read my mind. That’s good. ditto to it. :)

I use a tiny little twist on that idea. I just make the 8 groups of ten’s bars and 2 in the units. We then count off 6 units starting with the 2 in the units place. (I have segmented math blocks instead of the smooth non segmented things). But I don't put a 6 bar underneath --- in my 2nd child’s case it just made her think addition and it got too hard to deal with. 1st child --- no problem, did exactly what Lori described.) This is the same thing that Singapore does with the "broken necklace" pictures or the open bags of whatever pictures.

Like Lori said, it becomes very clear that you have to borrow from one of the ten’s bars to finish subtracting when they can see it.

Once we have seen the answer is 76, then I go back and re do the problem. This time before starting, I push the “to be borrowed from” ten bar a little bit closer to the units and just ask my dd to see that 82 is the same as 7 groups of tens plus 12. then after lots of repetition, she was getting it and could say the steps out loud. After we were at that point, I began to show her “the short cut” in writing where you cross out the 8 and put a 1 next to the units.

A key to Sinagpore (and MUS for that matter) is learning how to Make 10's. A lot of the mental component for adding and subtracting is based from those making ten's combinations and knowing them without much thought. I'm really liking Singapore more and more even in the higher levels. I say stick with it and get over the little road bumps before giving up.
--crystal
Kim Schroter
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:17 am
Okay. I feel really silly right now. I read the above suggestions and got out our math sense blocks and worked with her. She gets it. She needs me to say it out and she repeats, but she's smiling and can SEE it.

This whole year of math has been going through the text book and then work book and I didn't bother to get out manipulatives. It's like I totally forgot about them and I can't believe I was attempting those lessons on subtraction without them! My poor kid! Yikes, I think I'm ready for summer break!

Kim
Married to John 12 years
Mother to Hannah 9 , Summer 7, Ruth 3 and Charlie 4 months
Omma
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:25 pm
Thank you so much for this thread. Wow, I now understand borrowing better... thanks to your explanations! My 7 ds is just starting Singapore 1B, and I will remember what all of you taught me so that I can teach him, using those handy, dandy manipulatives!

Brenda
4Truth
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:59 am
Manipulatives. I knew I was missing something! LOL!

I also have a 2nd grader finishing up 1B, and she's been hitting a lot of hard spots lately, but for some reason I just forgot about the manipulatives! Maybe because my older dd is more visual and hasn't needed them thanks to the visual lessons in the Textbook that she does prior to Workbook work... but Renee apparently does need the hands-on.

Thank you, thank you!
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! Using MFW since 2004.
Kim Schroter
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:17 am
(Thanks Donna... for sharing that you forgot the manipulatives too!) I'm really disappointed I didn't use these with her all along! I worked with her 1 (ONE!) day with the manipulatives and it has completely sunk in! She woke up this morning asking me to ask her math questions. (That has NEVER happened before) I started easy with 80-20 and 55-30, etc. She was immediately giving me answers and smiling and laughing. I continued asking her some more... 107-20 and 48-32 and it was all making sense in her mind. One day with the manipulatives has given her a visual in her brain that she really needed. I'm excited to continue working with the math sense blocks to get her to the point of mentally figuring out 67-9 and 54-38, etc.

If only I was on the ball and got these out sooner, she may be more advanced than she is right now with these math concepts.

She has her first standardized test (Woodcock Johnson) for the state of NC this coming week. I think those manipulatives came just in time!

Anyway, I can't say enough about how wonderful the Math Sense Blocks have been. Money well spent!

Thanks AGAIN Crystal and Lori! I need the assistance of your brains!

Also, I'm very excited to continue with Singapore Math. This past week of struggling through and then SEEING it make sense has shown me the benefits of Singapore's methods. It's laying a foundation of math in my daughter that I never even had myself. I'm starting to see numbers in a new way that is simplifying math for me as well. We will stick with Singapore, practice and review 1A and 1B throughout the summer and move on to 2A in the fall.

Kim
Married to John 12 years
Mother to Hannah 9 , Summer 7, Ruth 3 and Charlie 4 months
cbollin
Kim Schroter wrote: One day with the manipulatives has given her a visual in her brain that she really needed.
Kim

ding ding ding ding ding! give Kim the prize. (what??) My dh and I have been trying to come up with a way to say just what you said. Singapore's "mental math" doesn't mean that we have to stop using more concrete methods for teaching our young children. It is about giving us a process to be able to see and think through a problem in our heads without it being just a "plug and chug" routine formula. It is mental math because the light goes on in your head.

Aren't you glad you the solution was this simple -- just add a concrete teaching tool and talk it through? I love multi sensory teaching!!! I'm just happy dancing over here for you!!!!! Don't feel silly about it --- look at how many others of us needed the same thing.

keep up the great work, Kim!

--crystal
LSH in MS
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am
Glad to be of help. Isn't it exciting to see the light bulb of understanding come on in our children's eyes?
Lori

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
TurnOurHearts
Hi Kim :)

A couple months back we were in the SAME place. I was crying out for help on the message boards with all this mental math stuff - I thought I was having a mental breakdown!

Among all these wonderful answers I was was given as well, someone helpfully pointed out that when you get to 2A, they teach borrowing like we did it. Singapore gives them several ways to learn it (I love that!). Max was doing fine after the help we received, but he really got it when we got to that place in 2A. I added the question, "How far are you from ten?" or "Where's the ten?" and we have zoomed right through since. I am really pleased with what his mind does in regards to math, and I'm learning in the process. ;)

Glad it's getting better ~ yay, God!

Paige in NC
Amy in NC
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:51 pm
Kim,
We did the WJ-III test last week & the tester commented that both the girls were very good @ math. Dd8 is finishing Singapore 2B & dd6 is finishing the MFW1st math program. I have been very pleased with MFW's programs & recommendations.

Amy
Married to ♥
Rob♥ for 18 yrs
dd(11.5), dd(10), dd(6), and ds(3.5)
Completed Kx2, 1st, Adv, ECC, CTG, & RTR