# Mathematics Online Resources for Parents

26 Jan 2016

*Check out the online repository of Mathematics online resources here:*

A rich resource portal with many math videos, songs, poems and stories for young children.

Educational website which includes interactive games and puzzles for children to practise for basic mathematical skills.

A portal which has an interactive Maths Skill Builders to help children practise the different maths concepts.

A website which has a Game Room that offers games such as Matho and Hidden Picture. Children can test their maths skills with its e-Flashcards and eWorksheets. There is also a Home Helper to help children to check on their maths solutions.

This site offers tutorials, practices, and exciting activities. It has sections which include maths games, free online games and puzzles.

A math-help web site that generates answers to specific maths questions and problems. In addition to the answers, Webmath also shows users how to arrive at the answer. It includes topics such as Math for Everyone, General Maths and Geometry.

A site which contains a library of interactive activities for children to experiment with various mathematical concepts.

A site for children who have a keen interest in mathematics and want to find out more about the wonders of mathematics .

A site which provides a library of Math games, e-manipulatives and brainteasers.

A fun and interactive site for children. The games allow children to compete among themselves.

A website for parents and children with an interactive game that teaches about money management. Parents can pick up some tips, activities, and ideas to help teach your child how to use money wisely.

# FAQ on Primary Mathematics

This collection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) provides brief answers to many common questions on hot discussion topics relating to Primary Mathematics.

**Generic topics pertaining to Mathematics**

Q1: How should I prepare my child in the area of Mathematics before entry to Primary 1? Should I send him/her for some Mathematics enrichment classes before he/she starts Primary 1? |

The Primary 1 curriculum is designed to be accessible to the masses, without assuming any prior knowledge in the subject offered. Children who have no prior knowledge will not be disadvantaged because the curriculum begins with the most elementary skills and concepts, such as counting from 1 to 10. Basic understanding of multiplication and division, in the context of grouping and sharing, will be taught. |

Q2: Can my child solve word problems using algebra? |

Your child can use any method to solve word problems as long as the method used is clearly presented and mathematically sound. However, children are not required to use algebra to solve word problems at this level. |

Q3: Is the learning of model method important? |

Model drawing is a powerful problem-solving approach. Using the bar model, a child represents mathematical relationships in a problem in a pictorial form. The pictorial form helps him/her understand the problem and plan the steps for the solution. This approach is developmentally sound for young children, and is recognised internationally as an effective way for the children to have early exposure to algebraic concepts and to learn problem solving. Besides solving problems, model drawing also supports the learning of fractions, ratio and percentages. Children will find the model approach useful when they solve problems involving these concepts in upper primary. Here is an example of a word problem using the model method. The word problem involves the concepts of fraction and ratio. Alex gave 5/7 of his marbles to his sister. He gave the remaining marbles to his friends, Sam and Ann in the ratio 1: 3. Ann received 45 marbles from Alex. How many marbles had Alex at first? |

Q4: The language in word problems are getting difficult to comprehend and the contexts given are not authentic. Can we just focus on basic concepts at primary level and put word problems at Secondary level instead? |

We agree that language difficulties can affect children’s ability to comprehend and solve word problems. However, it is difficult to avoid the language element in learning mathematics, and word problems are essential in the curriculum. They help children develop problem-solving skills. What we can do, therefore, is to make a conscious effort to use simple words and use key phrases consistently. This will help children comprehend the word problems. Schools also teach students how to break longer sentences into meaningful parts, to help them understand the sentences. These skills are important, not just in mathematics, but in other subjects. As for the contexts in word problems, we can argue that some may be artificial, but they are nevertheless instructional. At Secondary 1, there may be fewer word problems at the start. That is because many more new concepts (e.g. negative numbers) are taught. Progressively, word problems or application problems (as they are often called) are also introduced. |

Q5: We find that Primary 6 Mathematics is tougher than Secondary 1 Mathematics. Could Mathematics at Primary 6 be made simpler then? |

We believe this perception comes from the word problems that primary students practise with in schools. In terms of concepts and skills, the secondary syllabus builds on what have been taught at the primary levels. For example, the topic on angle properties is taught at a more basic level at Primary 6. At the Secondary 1 level, this topic is treated at a more complex level to include properties of parallel lines and polygons. Students are also introduced to new and more abstract topics in Number, Mensuration, Algebra and Geometry. To sum up, Primary 6 mathematics is not conceptually more difficulty than Secondary 1 mathematics. The Secondary 1 syllabus is deeper and broader in coverage than the primary syllabus. |

Q6: Mathematics is an abstract and dry subject. Children will lose interest easily if the subject is not well taught. |

Mathematics is indeed an abstract subject. However, it need not be dry. We can make the learning of Mathematics engaging for the students and ensure that they master the basic numeracy skills at the lower primary levels. In recent years, we have been providing schools with teaching resources such as manipulatives. Teachers have been trained to use these manipulatives. We have feedback from schools that students learn better with the manipulatives and they look forward to using them in class. Also, we encourage learning of Mathematics through daily life experiences. This makes learning Primary Mathematics more meaningful, relevant and hopefully not dry! |

Q7: We understand that in 2013, the Primary 1 children will be using the new Primary Mathematics Syllabus. What are the changes? When and where can I find the syllabus? |

R7: There are minor changes to the Primary 1 syllabus starting 2013. The changes include removal of measurement or comparison of mass of objects using non-standard units and 3D shapes, and the inclusion of “orientation” (directions an object is facing such as left, right, pointing up, pointing down etc.) as an additional attribute of objects. These minor changes improve the sequence of the topics being taught. |

Q8: Our children start using calculators at Primary 5. Is it too early to start the use of it? Will they lose their mental computational skills if they use calculators at too young an age? |

Our children are required to develop proficiency in written and mental calculations before they use calculators in Primary 5. They should attain mastery of mental addition and subtraction within 20 in Primary 1, and mastery of mental multiplication and division within the multiplication tables in Primary 3. Mastery of basic skills includes standard written algorithms for whole numbers, decimals and fractions from Primary 1 to 4. These are important life skills and should not be abandoned just because calculators are easily accessible. The main objective for the use calculators is for children to use them both as a learning and problem-solving tool and as a computation tool. The use of calculators is introduced at Primary 5 and Primary 6 as part of the changes in the revised 2007 Primary Mathematics syllabus. We are mindful that children may find little motivation to remember the number facts and learn to calculate by hands. That is why, in the PSLE, there is a section where students must do without calculators. If you want to read more about the use of calculators, you may want to refer to page 11 in the document link below: http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/syllabuses/sciences/files/maths-primary-2007.pdf |

Q9: What are heuristics? |

R9: Heuristics are techniques students can use to tackle a problem when the solution to the problem is not obvious. Some examples of heuristics are listed below and grouped into four categories according to how they are used: To give a representation e.g. draw a diagram, make a list, use equations To make a calculated guess e.g. guess and check, look for patterns, make suppositions To go through the process e.g. act it out, work backwards, before-after To change the problem e.g. restate the problem, simplify the problem, solve part of the problem Here is an example of one that involves guess and check: The perimeter of a rectangle is 42 cm. Its area is 108 cm2. Find its length and breadth. Since the perimeter of the rectangle is 42 cm, the sum of its length and breadth will be 21 cm. Make a list of the possible lengths and breadths. |

Q10: Children should be taught only the basic mathematical concepts and skills instead of heuristics. Does my child need to know heuristics such as Guess and Check? How is the learning of such heuristics relevant to our real world? |

We agree that children should learn basic mathematical concepts and skills well. We also believe that good problem-solving skills are necessary. "Guess and Check" is one of the problem-solving strategies that we teach our children. It encourages children to think logically as they make and improve on their guesses. Through mathematical problem-solving, we hope that children can develop thinking skills and habits that will help them to become better learners. |