## Math Topics - Singapore horizontal math problems

cbollin

### Math Topics - Singapore horizontal math problems

Rebecca in Ohio wrote:At the homeschool conference a couple of months ago I purchased Singapore 2A and 2B. I had given my ds the 1B Placement test. He did fairly well, technically he made the 80% as suggested by MFW.

But he had trouble with one certain area, specifically in questions 6 and 21. Anytime there was an addition or subtraction where he needed to regroup numbers he just had no clue how to do it, even when I showed him how to do it he didn't seem to understand why, and he couldn't do it if I gave him a similar question. For example:

27 - 9 = 10 + 7 + 10 - 9 = 17 + _______ =_______

It even takes me awhile to wrap my brain around it! He could do it any other way, ie. if it was set up vertically - or even just figuring it out in his head.

Should I buy 1B and backtrack?

Thanks, Rebecca
Starting in 2A/2B, I think it when SM teaches the vertical and classic style of borrowing. You'll be fine. I don't think you will *have* to go back to do the whole 1B book just to learn the Singapore thinking for addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Instead....use manipulatives to teach it more concretely. My daughter would not be expected to do regrouping "just" in her head. We would get out math blocks and show her what was going on and let her move the blocks.

So in the example of 27-9
we would build 20 as two groups of 10's, and then have 7 "ones" or "units"
Then it would become 17
and (10-9)
or 17 +1

(It's basically setting up to learn how to do it vertically and teach the process behind it all instead of just the method)

It's part of the process of thinking about it. But please continue to use concrete methods to teach Singapore.

hope some of that makes some sense.

--crystal

4Truth
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:59 am
You might also use the math blocks as Crystal suggested along with a white board and different colored markers. Use the white board to "see it", and the blocks to "do it", while you talk it out as you're doing it so that he can "hear it". Then have him explain back to you for understanding.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! Using MFW since 2004.

Rebecca in Ohio
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:54 pm
Thank you ladies for the reply and the suggestions. I'll go ahead and use those ideas. Even I should be able to wrap my mind around that one!

Rebecca

mom2woii
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:17 am
TammyB wrote:We used MFW first grade math, and that gave him a solid understanding of place value.

I just don't seem capable of teaching the Singapore math program. I understand the concepts, but I cannot explain them properly, and we are only in 1B......

Teaching 14-7 as 10-7=3+4 is just not working. Hammering out the "make 10" process has reduced my son to tears. He hates using the base 10 blocks. They seem to get in his way, so to speak. Help!
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:43 pm

It may have nothing to do with your teaching this curriculum, but could be all to do with your son's age/maturity.

I've posted previously that last year my dd was 7yo and in first grade. By the time April came around, she was "done" with school. She just seemed to be overwhelmed. I finished school by reading to her daily. That was all we did and we picked math and phonics up again this past fall.

I wouldn't throw in the towel yet! Just go at a slower pace and don't worry about how long it takes him to get the concept. He will get it, but in his time. Sometimes, their brains don't get it one day and in then just a couple of months, the light bulb is turned on :-)).

TriciaMR
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:03 pm

My dd had trouble with subtraction especially (we use MUS). For these, I made up stories (she is somewhat right brained). The number 7 is "Superhero 7." So, I drew 7 on the white board quite large, and then we made the horizontal line into a cape and wrote a 3 on it. The story goes, if you are subtracting, Superhero 7 swoops in and adds a 3 to the number in the ones (or units) place and that is the answer. (If you are adding, Superhero 7 swoops in and subtracts 3 from the unit, and drops a 1 into the tens place.) (All he needs to know is what makes 10 with each number. My stories helped my dd remember what went with each one.)

I had a story for each number:
• 9 is a magician and he always has a 1 in his magic hat (he is drawn with a hat on his head);
8 ate 2 much (draw a face in each circle of the 8);
Superhero 7;
6 is a clown who is always juggling 4 balls (the circle part is a big clown nose, the eyes go under the arch of the top of the 6, then 4 circles around the top of the 6);
5 is a twin, and his twin 5 is always following him around (so, draw another 5 right behind him);
4 is a gardener (draw a hoe coming off the right end of the horizontal part of the number) and always plants 6 flowers (draw the flowers below and around the 4);
3 had a tea party, and always invites 7 guests (I forgot how we drew that one)
My dd still remembers these stories, and when she draws a blank, she uses them to help her remember.

-Trish

cbollin
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:58 pm

Singapore is not too hard to teach! Let's hang in there. I'll take you step by step through this section. It takes me more time to type this and to read it, than it does to teach it out loud.

My 2nd dd had to be taught a little differently. So let’s think outside the box a bit together. Warning… you might need to print all of this and sit back for day.

It is about modeling and working with our children --- and that is the case no matter what math program you use at this age.

It is ok if your son does not master this technique while in this part of 1B. It is ok to “just teach the facts right now” and model the approach in a way that is very casual and almost as a special way to try it. My 2nd dd didn’t have it down pat early in 1B with 14-7 or 12-8. It was a building block as one way to think about it. It isn’t that this particular method is some magic thing that they have to learn. It is a building block to get ready to understand double digit subtraction with regrouping later one with bigger numbers. You are building concepts at this point, not just teaching a method. A lot of this will come back up a little later in 1B but in disguise. It will be ok. Trying to encourage you a bit to keep plugging away. My 2nd dd didn’t master the method, but by practicing the concept over and over, I think it really helped her to understand regrouping later on.

Suggestions for this section of 1B when it gets rough:

Let’s take a few steps back for some extra review time when our kids have trouble with this section.

Before starting any of the textbook or workbook in this section, start with some drill time in 3 key areas:

*I would make sure he knows the “subtraction number bonds with 10.” That would be 10-9, 10-8, 10-7 etc.. Drill those for a little bit before starting the lesson. He probably knows them by now. So this should be quick.

*Then, make sure you drill on Making the Teens when One Bond is 10: I simply mean that you say out loud things like
11 = 10+ 1 or 11-10 =1
12 = 10+2
13= 10+3
Etc.

Again that should be quick for your child.

*Then set up to work on drilling Teens minus single digit (i.e. things like 14-8). I think many children need to say and see the correct answer before trying them on their own. Just have him repeat it after you and then let him try on his own. This may be very new to your child.
In other words
Mom says “14 minus 8 equals 6” (preferably while holding up a flashcard or at least pointing to the problem on a white board)
Kid echos: 14 -8 = 6
Mom then says: “14 -8 equals ????” (while covering up answer on flashcard)
Kid hopefully says “6”

Do several of the teens this way.
Then very quickly call out the 10 number bonds one more time.

You may use whatever drill methods you like to use.

After you have done that, then work on the “mental math process” a bit. If blocks seem to be getting in his way, model it a bit but not expect him to do it on his own. It may be too much all at one time and it is perfectly ok to break it down for your child and model it several times over several days of instruction. Just as mom2woii said, your child is young and just may need more time.

and let me quote David on another post :
You see sometimes it is patience not frustration that wins the battle.

Please exercise caution from easily being discouraged when a child is not succeeding. Don't give up but press on in a gentle way.

All of a sudden one day out of the blue children finally get it.
I do this all the time with my very average 2nd child. I show her and we build and say it out loud together. Some children are not ready to handle the processing and flow chart just from verbal instruction. The extra steps are ok to do.

For our sample problem of 14-8
I would set out a segmented 10 block and 4 “ones”. Alternatively, I would also use raisins (or something other than segmented math blocks) in a pile of ten and pile of 4.
And I would say out loud to my child:

“I have 14 and I want to take away 8. hmmm 8 is bigger than 4, so that’s not super easy to do right now. So, I’ll take my 8 from the 10.”
(and then I would physically cover up 8 of the blocks or raisins or chocolate eggs. This will help the child to hear, see and follow the steps without having to process the flowchart of the steps)
Then I continue to say out loud
“That leaves 2 plus those 4. Ah ha! I took away 8 from 14 and I’m left with Six. 14 -8 = 6”
and I would even go the next step and have the flashcard showing for that.

Work lots of them like that with flashcards before going to the workbook. It is ok at this point to work with your next to your child as he does his problems.

-crystal

courthart246
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:45 pm
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:05 pm

As I was reading the message boards I saw that most people who did Singapore liked it. I seem to be finding along the way that MFW recommendations are often a very good thing. Well, I ordered Singapore 1b after giving my ds the placement tests. He really enjoyed the math, but the teacher was struggling. After having math scripted for me I couldn't see how I was going to teach this math with mostly pictures and very little text. I sent it back.

I received a wonderful phone call from David Hazell who talked me through the math and explained it in such a way that I could understand it. I was very impressed that he would take the time to call me and talk me through this math. He truly believes in this program. I would encourage you to call the office and talk to him about the problems you're having. Maybe he would have some ideas for you.

It is hard to find the perfect math curriculum. There are so many choices, and we are all used to a different way of learning the concepts and we want to teach them the way we learned them. I did get Singapore back, and as we are plugging through it, my son is loving it, and I'm learning how to teach it. Maybe the same thing could happen for you. I hope that whatever you decide happier math days lay ahead.

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:15 pm

That was very helpful, but I'm still stuck with the same problem: me. I need a course on how to teach math. I don't conceptualize how to teach this, so I don't know day in and day out what to do. Does that make sense at all?

I certainly know that Singapore is a great program; I just feel so ill-equipped to teach it.

I printed your response, Crystal. I'll study it, and write some detailed lesson plans for me to follow.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2915
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:48 pm

I don't know if this will help, but I think most moms have unrealistic expectations about teaching math.

Kids will get stuck.

Some concepts will take months or years to sink in, no matter how great your teaching methods.

If you've tried everything you can think of -- manipulatives, marker board drawings, re-looking at the textbook drawings -- then move on to something else. When my ds was younger, he loved the measuring lessons in Singapore (i.e. pouring water all over the counter). I'd just move over to those for a while. I might bring back one problem a day of the "hard stuff." Then eventually we'd go back & finish the unit he didn't like. Or, just wait til the lesson came up again in a future book.

And lastly, I think Singapore presents concepts but doesn't "require" your child to do things any particular way. If one way doesn't work, I see Singapore as all about trying it another way.

Julie

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:11 pm

I have gotten several good ideas in this thread that have helped me be able to face another day of it. :)

And bless you, Julie! You have just given me permission to move on and come back to the "hard stuff" in small segments. I love that idea! My son will fly through the rest of the topics in the book.

God bless!

tiffany
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:30 am

In my experience, your problem as you have described would be a problem within any math curriculum. I would try some of the suggestions before making your decision.

Drills might be helpful as well. Of course you want him to understand how the numbers work, but drill him in combination with this process. Try to find something he enjoys, since he is struggling right now. There are many math drill choices.

We are up to Math 4B and still happy. Mostly the lessons are quick and painless. But there is always somewhere you will get bogged down, like long-division, ugh! I have found it easy to teach and I am not a math genius.

At one point, I had 3 children using Singapore, and I had more struggles with one of them. However, Singapore was a big improvement over our previous program, and I really credit it with helping her to understand math more. It even helped her do math mentally, which I didn't think would be an easy feat.

So my three cents is hang in there a bit longer and post or call the office when you are needing additional help.

Praying for a breakthrough!

Lucy
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:45 am

I can feel your "pain" as they say. I would not give up just yet but follow some of the ideas given here.

I know it may sound like a cop out answer but I would call the office and speak with David or JD regarding your struggles. There have been times when I have felt like throwing in the towel or that I just did not think something was going to work for me and calling the office has always given me the greatest encouragement, as is this board:) I am not saying that it will be the end all but it may give you some ideas and help to build your confidence to talk with them.

Praying for you as you take a step back, a deep breath, and exhale to begin to move forward again when the time is right. Sometimes it is us but many times as another poster said it is just a matter of readiness.
Lucy

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:49 pm

I was just thinking today about the math in MFW first and how much I enjoyed the number of the day activities. I really feel like my hand was held through that, so to speak.

Now that we have moved on to Singapore I am finding that that is what I miss the most. I am missing the hand-holding of "what to do" on a daily basis. I wish the math drills and skip counting and things like that were built into the program. It is such a grey area for me to have to figure all of that out on my own. I know that sounds silly and really should be no big deal at all, but for me it is a definite issue.

I'm also struggling with knowing what concepts need to be mastered. I often find myself wondering, "Am I just exposing him to this method, or does he need to master this before we move on?"

I've never been math phobic, and I don't find math difficult, but teaching abstract concepts to a child is proving to be a real challenge for me.

I think I am still recuperating. We have had so much emotional stuff going on that I am just drained.

Thank you to everyone who has replied. I do appreciate it, and I have gotten some tremendous help. :)

Julie in MN
Posts: 2915
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:41 pm

I just wanted to mention that the problem with trying to build drill into a math program is that you just can't predict when an individual child will have mastered a certain group. Therefore, the drill will likely be either monotonous or inadequate.

I think it might help with your sanity to just develop a drill routine that works for you and stick with it throughout the rest of this school year. Find a few things that work and do the same thing every Monday, then the same thing every Tues., etc. Just increase to higher numbers as you see you child progress.

Here is a thread with a lot of creative drill ideas:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?t=1141

Julie

hsmom
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:58 am
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:36 pm

You've already gotten some great responses, but I just wanted to let you know that we got bogged down in the same area. One thing that helped us was using beads on string like pictured in some of the examples in the books. I would explain it like some of the other posts mentioned... It's too hard to take 8 away from 4, so lets take it away from the 10.

It still took longer for him to get it than I tought it would. My impatience only made everything worse. I think a lot of my impatience came from the fact that he did not have the facts memorized. we took off some time to work on facts and that helped. I think just taking a short break and coming back to it with a new sense of patience helped more than anything.

We are in 2a now and plan on sticking with singapore as far as I can predict.

TurnOurHearts
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:57 pm

I think most of us hit this same spot & had generally the same reaction you are because we did NOT learn math this way. Take the advice you've been given (drills, call the office, take a week off, etc.), and pray! We stuck with it & I am so glad!! Max loves math & he is better at it than I ever thought about being! He's doing stuff in his head that I still struggle with...

Love ~ P

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