# Bar Modeling Instruction in Singapore PM vs. MIF

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Can anyone compare the bar modeling instruction in Singapore PM vs. MIF? It looks like it starts in level 2 in MIF and level 3 in Singapore PM? And it looks like MIF applies it across a lot of topics (e.g., the measurement chapters)? Is the instruction more explicit in either one?

Thanks,

Kathy

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Kathy,

I was trying to find a Math in Focus thread and ran across this. I don't have 3rd grade Singapore, but I looked over the MIF introduction to bar models in 2nd grade.

They just show three samples to introduce the topic. There is the word problem, the bar model, a thought bubble from a child's head with the thinking behind it, the written problem, and solving.

In the first introductory chapter they do two samples with two parts, finding the total/whole. Then one sample is giving the total/whole and finding a part. These are worked for the child and, other than the thought bubble, there isn't a lot of instruction. Then there are practice problems.

I ended up purchasing Process Skills and Problem Solving 2 so I don't know if MIF would have been enough bar model presentation and instruction on its own or not. MIF does include a lot of word problem work. Every unit/topic ends with a chapter containing word problems I believe. So, yes, you would have word problems at the end of the measurement unit. I like that actually. I don't know how it compares to Singapore but hopefully someone can provide a comparison for you.

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Kathy,

I was trying to find a Math in Focus thread and ran across this. I don't have 3rd grade Singapore, but I looked over the MIF introduction to bar models in 2nd grade.

They just show three samples to introduce the topic. There is the word problem, the bar model, a thought bubble from a child's head with the thinking behind it, the written problem, and solving.

In the first introductory chapter they do two samples with two parts, finding the total/whole. Then one sample is giving the total/whole and finding a part. These are worked for the child and, other than the thought bubble, there isn't a lot of instruction. Then there are practice problems.

I ended up purchasing Process Skills and Problem Solving 2 so I don't know if MIF would have been enough bar model presentation and instruction on its own or not. MIF does include a lot of word problem work. Every unit/topic ends with a chapter containing word problems I believe. So, yes, you would have word problems at the end of the measurement unit. I like that actually. I don't know how it compares to Singapore but hopefully someone can provide a comparison for you.

Thanks for your reply. I saw in the virtual sample that they seem to be teaching the bar model concept throughout the 2nd grade year -- in the first introductory chapter you mentioned, and then applying it to different concepts throughout the year (e.g., measurement).

Did you purchase the Process Skills book because you felt like you needed more explicit instruction for the 2nd grade level? Does it go deeper than what is presented in MIF? What is the benefit of adding this book on top of MIF?

Thanks!

Kathy

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Not sure what you would like compared but I just uploaded you some pages on my facebook from MIF 2 Unit 16

Thanks, Jennifer. I was able to register for the virtual sample, so have access to the whole thing, but thanks for taking the time to do this. :)

Kathy

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I haven't gotten to 3rd grade PM (my oldest jumped in at level 4), but the CWP books teach the bar models very well, giving examples at the beginning of each section to show the different ways you could use them. They are used in each type of math, from addition to measurement to percents to geometry. I don't have CWP 1, but CWP 2 teaches bar models, and all of them have the examples which re-teach how to use bar models with the new concepts for that level.

You might see if the CWP samples make sense to you (if any of them show the example page). CWP can be used with any other program

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Kathy, I have a child who just struggles in that area. I realized I still have Singapore's Challenging Word Problems 1, where they initially use bar models in that series. The presentation is very similar to how it's presented in Math in Focus. It's really nearly identical. Then I looked at Process Skills. It's more involved, incremental, and explicit.

The bar models really made sense to my son with Process Skills. But I can't at all remember how far we were in Math in Focus when I purchased Process Skills. It's possible it would have been enough. I just don't know. I don't expect that Math in Focus presentation will vary much from Singapore PM. I do think MIF's application of bar model strategies to a variety of problems throughout the material is good. They do have challenging problems built in. Challenging Word Problems workbooks have more of the challenging type of course.

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My dd really struggled with the bar model aspect of MIF as well. I think she would have struggled with any program that used bar models though. She could solve it without doing the bar models so she (and I) didn't see the need of drawing them out. I asked on the forum here if I should make her use the bar models or not. The resounding answer was yes. So I stopped what we were doing and spent a week doing bar models. I walked her through how to set them up, where to put the numbers, how to know by looking at the model if she would use addition or subtraction. I used regular word problems that I found free on the internet to do this. You can make any word problem a bar model. We started with one digit numbers and worked our way up. By the end of the week she had it. They still aren't her favorite method to use, but she can do it if she has to!

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I haven't gotten to 3rd grade PM (my oldest jumped in at level 4), but the CWP books teach the bar models very well, giving examples at the beginning of each section to show the different ways you could use them. They are used in each type of math, from addition to measurement to percents to geometry. I don't have CWP 1, but CWP 2 teaches bar models, and all of them have the examples which re-teach how to use bar models with the new concepts for that level.

You might see if the CWP samples make sense to you (if any of them show the example page). CWP can be used with any other program

Thanks, Boscopup. We are working our way through the CWP 1 book and I realized today that our next lesson is on bar models, so I'll see how that goes.

I am really struggling to figure out our path forward with math. We have been using CLE as our base, and for the most part it has worked very well for us. My dd has done well with the continual facts practice and review. We have tried to add Singapore PM on the side but are slow in our progress and are only up to a couple units in with 2A (my dd is in 2nd grade this year). We are not even halfway through CWP 1. I really want my dd to have the mental math and bar modeling experience with Singapore, but not at the expense of having a solid foundation with math facts and enough review of the basics.

I feel like MIF could be a compromise in that it has more practice and review than PM. I know I'd still have to add facts practice and drill, though. My dd is getting tired of doing so much math and would like to go to one program if possible. I've been cutting out some of the CLE problems and that has helped. She does not need all the review or drill work in CLE. I think some is helpful, but not nearly the amount they have in there. She seems to catch on to concepts pretty quickly, but she's not one to really "discover" math. I think she is one to still need explicit teaching, but maybe not overkill with review, just enough to not forget what she's learned.

I am also starting to get a bit frustrated with the way CLE has started presenting concepts. Up until now the teaching has been surprisingly conceptual and the place value work was excellent. But lately it feels like they aren't flushing out the concepts so much anymore, and I'm not liking the way some things are presented.

So I'm trying to figure out if I could make some form of Singapore math work, maybe MIF. Otherwise I think I will have to scale back the Singapore work we add to CLE and keep it to CWP, maybe the Process Skills book, and something else for mental math. It seems like I can't use either program as-is and get what I want. I do think using CLE to this point has been really good and I'd do it again with my younger dd. I feel like the addition and subtraction facts are now solidified and the 1,2,5, and 10 multiplication facts are pretty solidified at this point. We do have Flashmaster we could use to continue multiplication facts practice, which is what we've been using in lieu of flashcards anyway. Maybe CLE has served its purpose for us and made facts learning painless but now we can move on? That has been the lingering question in my mind.

Would love your thoughts on this.

Thanks,

Kathy

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Kathy, I have a child who just struggles in that area. I realized I still have Singapore's Challenging Word Problems 1, where they initially use bar models in that series. The presentation is very similar to how it's presented in Math in Focus. It's really nearly identical. Then I looked at Process Skills. It's more involved, incremental, and explicit.

The bar models really made sense to my son with Process Skills. But I can't at all remember how far we were in Math in Focus when I purchased Process Skills. It's possible it would have been enough. I just don't know. I don't expect that Math in Focus presentation will vary much from Singapore PM. I do think MIF's application of bar model strategies to a variety of problems throughout the material is good. They do have challenging problems built in. Challenging Word Problems workbooks have more of the challenging type of course.

Thanks sbgrace, it's really good to know the Process Skills book is more incremental if we need that. I don't know how my dd will do with the bar modeling since we haven't done it yet. I am glad to know the CWP 1 presentation is similar to the MIF presentation. We are about to hit the CWP 1 bar modeling tomorrow, so I'll see how that goes. Do you think MIF's challenging problems are as challenging as the CWP problems? Is there a need to add CWP to MIF? I appreciate your thoughts on all this.

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My dd really struggled with the bar model aspect of MIF as well. I think she would have struggled with any program that used bar models though. She could solve it without doing the bar models so she (and I) didn't see the need of drawing them out. I asked on the forum here if I should make her use the bar models or not. The resounding answer was yes. So I stopped what we were doing and spent a week doing bar models. I walked her through how to set them up, where to put the numbers, how to know by looking at the model if she would use addition or subtraction. I used regular word problems that I found free on the internet to do this. You can make any word problem a bar model. We started with one digit numbers and worked our way up. By the end of the week she had it. They still aren't her favorite method to use, but she can do it if she has to!

Thanks, Chelli. I have a feeling my dd might be the same way. I'll see after she hits this in CWP 1 in the next section. It's good to know that stopping and working on them was such a help to you guys. I may use the Process Skills book if we need more work there.

It seems like I read in the PM HIG that even though CWP 1 has the bar modeling, they don't actually teach it in PM until level 3 because kids aren't developmentally ready for it yet. Do you think starting it in 2nd grade had anything to do with your struggles? Would waiting a year have helped in that regard?

Thanks,

Kathy

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Thanks, Chelli. I have a feeling my dd might be the same way. I'll see after she hits this in CWP 1 in the next section. It's good to know that stopping and working on them was such a help to you guys. I may use the Process Skills book if we need more work there.

It seems like I read in the PM HIG that even though CWP 1 has the bar modeling, they don't actually teach it in PM until level 3 because kids aren't developmentally ready for it yet. Do you think starting it in 2nd grade had anything to do with your struggles? Would waiting a year have helped in that regard?

Thanks,

Kathy

No, I think dd just knew how to do the problem without the bar model and viewed the bar models as an unnecessary step. She tries to shortcut it if she can!

However, once we started working on bar models I realized that she could totally set up and work the problems correctly, but when she had to label and/or draw bar models to visualize what she was actually doing it was more difficult for her. This was actually a good way for her to really learn the process of word problems algebraically instead of working it and moving on.

I still use the CWP along with MIF. MIF has wonderful word problems, but the CWP definitely has a few that are more challenging. I think the CWP books are awesome so I would use them with any math program we used. :thumbup:

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No, I think dd just knew how to do the problem without the bar model and viewed the bar models as an unnecessary step. She tries to shortcut it if she can!

However, once we started working on bar models I realized that she could totally set up and work the problems correctly, but when she had to label and/or draw bar models to visualize what she was actually doing it was more difficult for her. This was actually a good way for her to really learn the process of word problems algebraically instead of working it and moving on.

I still use the CWP along with MIF. MIF has wonderful word problems, but the CWP definitely has a few that are more challenging. I think the CWP books are awesome so I would use them with any math program we used. :thumbup:

I see and I could definitely see my dd questioning how necessary they were, too, lol. But I am sold on their benefits long-term, especially as the problems become more challenging.

Thanks for your thoughts on adding CWP to MIF. That sounds like a good plan and it would provide a different kind of review, which would be nice. My dd seems to like the CWP so far, although it definitely challenges her. Are you using the CWP on grade level or behind?

Thanks!

Kathy

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I see and I could definitely see my dd questioning how necessary they were, too, lol. But I am sold on their benefits long-term, especially as the problems become more challenging.

Thanks for your thoughts on adding CWP to MIF. That sounds like a good plan and it would provide a different kind of review, which would be nice. My dd seems to like the CWP so far, although it definitely challenges her. Are you using the CWP on grade level or behind?

Thanks!

Kathy

Currently I am using it a full year behind, but I'm trying to speed it up a bit. I think that it would fit much better about half a year behind. With my second child I will have her start CWP 1 when we switch from 1A to 1B instead of when we start 2A like I did with my oldest.

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Currently I am using it a full year behind, but I'm trying to speed it up a bit. I think that it would fit much better about half a year behind. With my second child I will have her start CWP 1 when we switch from 1A to 1B instead of when we start 2A like I did with my oldest.

Thanks, Chelli! I appreciate all your insights!

Kathy

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