Desert Rat Posted April 26, 2009 Share Posted April 26, 2009 My ds9 will be completing Primary Mathmatics 6b in the next 4 months or so. I'm looking to move on to a 7th grade curricula but am confused by the 3 or 4different ones listed on Singapore's website. Does anyone have any experience with NEM or any of the others? A little background....Huck is very advanced in math, working about 3-4 years ahead. HOWEVER, he needs a lot of review and reminders on the basics. We usually stop once a month and review PEMDAS, area and speed formulas and basic mathmatics. Our problem stems from him wanting to do all of his calculations in his head. He gets them right about 75% of the time but I require him to show his work which makes him dig in his heals. LOL Any advise or help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, I'm not completely loyal to Singapore so if there's another math curriculum you think I should consider, suggest away! TIA Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

KAR120C Posted April 27, 2009 Share Posted April 27, 2009 It's not the only good math source in the world, but it has fit DS really well through Earlybird, Primary and NEM, so we'll be sticking with it! ;) This year we took off for a rabbit trail through Statistics, but next year we'll be back to NEM (and I have to say I'm really looking forward to it -- it fits me well too!!) The one thing we did with our first starts with NEM were for me to really crack down on the showing of work. It wasn't the first I started requiring it, but it was the last stand before he had completely bought into the need. Other than that it was a very smooth transition. NEM is definitely a different style than Primary, but a lot of what I liked about Primary was true about NEM also -- challenging problems, clear (to me) explanations. It does help for the parent to be "mathy" or at least not math-phobic, but it's not as scary a curriculum as I've sometimes heard it made out to be. If you think you'll need extra review, I'd get the workbook as well as the text. It has a whole extra set of problems for each chapter, which you could take from as needed (either for more review during the chapter or for mixed review later on). Also, the workbooks have test papers with grading instructions - how many points per question and whether a calculator may be used for each section... worth the extra $8 right there, IMO! But for general review, the textbook's review sections are really good, and the Challenger and Problem Solving sections are really REALLY challenging. The Challenger sections tend to be on the topic of the rest of the chapter, but requiring extra thought, and the Problem Solving sections tend to be on other topics -- word problems with a common theme, but not the theme of the rest of the chapter. I like them. :) I won't be offended if you choose something else (LOL) but I do think NEM is worth a look. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Desert Rat Posted April 27, 2009 Author Share Posted April 27, 2009 Thanks, Erica! That's exactly what I wanted to hear. LOL I was leaning toward NEM anyway but before I bought wanted a review. I'll check back tomorrow if anyone wants to add their thoughts. Thanks! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Colleen in SEVA Posted April 27, 2009 Share Posted April 27, 2009 (edited) Just to throw another option out there to confuse things... have you looked at Discovering Mathematics from singaporemath.com? There are samples available at singaporemath.com (and a chart comparing scope/sequence). A couple of others here are planning to use it, but I don't know anyone who has actually already used it. I ordered both from Rainbow so I could compare them side by side, and the DM "feels" more like the Primary Mathematics (students with thought bubbles to explain the thinking process, uses the bar diagrams, much more empty space on each page, A & B for each grade level). I also like that the Teacher Guide has all of the answers AND solutions in one place, rather than scattered about like in NEM. DM is in color, has a page "In A Nutshell" at the end of each chapter summarizing the important new concepts, and has a more student-friendly layout, with "Try This" problems directly under each example that follow the same pattern, with different types of problems in the exercises. It uses the Geometer's Sketchpad in later levels, which is kind of cool. OH -- and there is a chart at the front of each Teacher's Guide that breaks it into weeks, including which activities to do, which student pages to do, a bulleted list of key concepts, and a list of related websites (several each week!). The downside to DM is that I haven't found anyone who has actually USED it yet, whereas NEM has a proven track record. Jenny at the SM forums also says that the DM is not as challenging (but since we are using this so young, this was a plus for our family). It is also slightly more expensive than NEM ($80 per year for DM, vs $50 per year for NEM). I do have both books right in front of me for the next few days (I've decided to go with a DM / LoF combo for Blue), if anyone has any specific things they want me to compare. :) Edited April 27, 2009 by Colleen in SEVA Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Desert Rat Posted April 28, 2009 Author Share Posted April 28, 2009 A question, Colleen, if you don't mind. How old is your son who will be using DM? My ds will be 9 when he starts the next level of math. I think he would like DM better if it had a similar format. I'm not mathphobic but it isn't my strong suit either. Do you think DM would be easier for ME to understand/teach? Money isn't a real issue for us right now, as long as we stay under the $100 mark for math. I just don't want to buy both to compare. :o I'm countin' on you to do the comparing for me! LOL I'll go back to the Singapore website and see if I can delve a little deeper into the comparisons. TIA for your added input. It's greatly appreciated and why I love these boards so much! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Matryoshka Posted April 28, 2009 Share Posted April 28, 2009 I'm also planning on DM after PM - I also just liked the look and feel better - much more like Primary Math (and that does make it friendlier feeling for me, not just the kids :tongue_smilie:). I'm not worried about its potentially not being as tough as NEM because I'm only planning on using the 1A/B level for prealgebra before jumping into Foersters/LOF for Algebra. My kids will be 11 or 12 when we use it - depends on how quickly we get through 6a/b. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Colleen in SEVA Posted April 29, 2009 Share Posted April 29, 2009 (edited) matroyshka -- It was after reading one of your posts about DM that I decided to order and have a look. I had always planned on NEM, and I'm so glad I found DM instead! NEM seems like a great program, and probably would have worked fine for us, but DM is just a better fit. :) Thanks! Kalah -- My son will be 7.75 when we start DM. He will have completed Singapore EarlyBird, a little bit of Miquon, Primary Mathematics 1A-6B, LoF Fractions, LoF Decimals & Percents, Key to Measurement (since PM is so light on US measurement), sections of Russian Mathematics 6, and several reading books about math. I know MOST people say that Algebra should wait until kids hit puberty, including the author of LoF when I e-mailed him to ask what I should do with my son in the 6 years between now and puberty :lol: . He can do things in his head like solve for X if 3x^3+1=25, so waiting 6 years to start Algebra doesn't seem to make much sense to me. I figure we are just going to try it and see what happens. He doesn't get problems wrong in math, so if he starts getting problems wrong it will be a sign that we need to slow down. :) http://www.singaporemath.com/FAQ_Sec...een_the_Series http://www.singaporemath.com/v/vspfiles/assets/images/SSSecMath2008.pdf As best I can tell (having not actually USED any of these!), almost all topics are covered in both NEM and DM, and they each have about the same number of topics missing. I made a list, and it *seems* like the things missing from DM are covered in LoF (which Blue insists we continue, anyway). The NEM reminds me of what I used in school (though not at this age!) -- black and white, LOTS of words on a page, it all sort of runs together. DM isn't annoyingly colorful, but it does have a lot of color. It does have SOME notes in the margin, but not so many that it is distracting. Some are useful (like reminding students that D=RT), but some are random, like the photo of 3 mountain climbers holding a Singapore flag, with one of the cartoon students saying "With perseverance, Singaporeans can scale great heights!". OH!! There are these National Education Messages in the front of the Teacher's Guide that are scheduled to be taught, such as "No one owes Singapore a living" and "We must ourselves defend Singapore" and "We have confidence in our future." Odd.... but easily ignored. :) Though... on page 70, one of the word problems states "In a parade, a group of soldiers are arranged in a rectangular array of 32 rows by 28 columns. Estimate the number of soldiers in the group." Next to this is a photograph of Singapore soldiers, lined up, with one of the cartoon kids saying "These smart soldiers help to defend Singapore." :001_huh: Who are they raising their kids to be so afraid of? Other random thoughts about DM... The long numbers use spaces between each 3 digits, rather than commas. The cartoon kids are more mature looking (Asian and Indian, rather preppy looking in school uniforms :D ), but serve the same function as they did in Primary. The "Notes on Teaching" seem helpful, with a couple of sentences for each section. Are there any specific things you want me to look up? :) Edited April 29, 2009 by Colleen in SEVA Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Colleen in SEVA Posted April 29, 2009 Share Posted April 29, 2009 (edited) He will have completed Singapore EarlyBird, a little bit of Miquon, Primary Mathematics 1A-6B, LoF Fractions, LoF Decimals & Percents, Key to Measurement (since PM is so light on US measurement), sections of Russian Mathematics 6, and several reading books about math. OK, I'm feeling self-conscious about posting this and want to "defend" myself. :) I know someone is going to read this and think that we just rushed through things, that he isn't solid on his basics, that I'm pushing him, etc (you know those posts I'm talking about... why I rarely share with the public what we are really learning here ha ha). It isn't that he is some great math genius or anything, its just that most of what we encountered in those books was review. I still went through the entire series as another way of solving problems, but since he already understood the *why* of what to do, we didn't have to spend much time on the *how*. (This paragraph is just my random philisophical thoughts about math education... feel free to skip it!) I think the way we teach math in the US is all wrong -- and I am basing that on my huge experience of one semester of internship in a first grade class and one semester of teaching fifth graders :tongue_smilie:. Have you ever been in a first grade classroom? It's amazing. The entire world has opened up to these new readers, and they want to know everything in it -- especially math. Math is fun! Math is exciting! Math is all new! :) Fast forward to fifth grade... Math is boring! Math is the horrible thing you have to suffer through before you get to eat lunch. Math is all about learning one way to do things, and then repeating that one way thirty times for homework. Math is about figuring just how many problems you have to spit out to get your desired grade. WHAT HAPPENED TO MATH?!?! I have a theory based on my own math education. I loved math. I have many fond memories of first grade math, second grade math, and sixth grade math. I remember the textbooks, I remember the discoveries. Why don't I remember a single thing about 3rd - 5th grade math? Surely I must have done it! The difference is that in 1, 2, and 6, my teacher let me do my own thing. In first grade, my teacher ran dittos of higher levels of math and let me complete them on my own, figuring them out using unifix cubes while she taught the rest of the class first grade math. In second grade, the teacher didn't know what to do with me, so she let me go to the third grade classroom for the math lesson and then I went back to my regular room to work on my own. In sixth grade (which was still elementary school then), the teacher let me and two other students sit at a table in the back of the room and figure out pre-algebra for ourselves. What made these years different? I had to figure math out on my own! There wasn't anyone there to hold my hand and spoon feed me algorithms. So I have tried to recreate this with my boys. I also think schools are making a mistake in teaching math concepts to kids on a need-to-know basis, rather than a crave-to-know basis. For example, square numbers are AMAZING to five year olds, but boring homework to fifth graders. Why wait? On the back of the hundred chart there were all these blank squares just BEGGING to be filled in, so I wrote the times tables in (1-9 on first row, 2-18 on the second, etc). I then used a black marker to outline the square of the numbers on the diagonal. Which led to... "Why do those numbers have a square around them? Those are the square numbers. What are square numbers? Well, when you times a number by itself, it is called a square. Why are they called square numbers? If I make a square out of these blocks that has five on this side, and five on this side, how many blocks fill the square? 25. OH!! And 25 IS the SQUARE of 5!! That is so cool! Does it work with 6? How about 7? What about 100? What about negative numbers? Can those be a square? Well, you can square them, but if you want the square root of it, it's called an imaginary number. Sure, right Mom, like there is really something called an IMAGINARY NUMBER! No, really, Blue, there is! Can I google it? No, you aren't allowed on Google (where do they get this stuff??). But here, let me show you a problem where you would use an imaginary number..." Now compare that to one of my fifth graders, who would see that 25 was the square of 5, they would make a mental note of it, and move on. End of story. No connections made. Another thing that bugs me is time. Why only teach the hours to first graders? That isn't useful at all! If you tell a first grader "You can have snack in 16 minutes" or "We are leaving at 2:00, but you can play Legos until then" they will learn in no time (HA!). Like long division... fifth graders are subjected to months upon months of tiny little baby steps that eventually lead to long division -- how boring! Why not throw out something like "There are 2,434 chocolate chips in this bag of cookies, how many chocolate chips would you and your brothers get if you shared the bag of cookies equally?" "Hmmm... I don't know, but what if we made 2,434 out of these base 10 blocks you put out on the table, and then divided them up? Oh, I can't divide the 2 big red ones into 5 piles, can I trade them in for 20 of the flat blue ones? Oh, that would make sense, except now I have 24 so I can use 20 of them to give each boy 4, with 4 left over, to trade in again." "Very good ideas, Blue! Now, let me show you what that whole process looks like on paper. Don't forget that each type of block has to be in its own column when you are trading in the numbers!" (This conversations is known as "How to teach a 5 year old 5 months worth of 5th grade math in 5 minutes). So when we got around to long division in his math book, he already knew *why* you brought down the next number, and *why* you subtract each step, and *why* it is crucial to have the columns lined up just so -- so the *how* was easy. Same thing with subtracting decimals (I used the base 10 blocks for this also -- love those things!), doing conversion factors, or any other "hard" math concept. If presented in a concrete way when they CRAVE to know it, it's no big deal when they NEED to know it. Why wait? So all this to say..... yes, I do feel Blue is ready to jump into DM and LoF Algebra, because I will be there to answer his questions and ask him more. :) Edited April 29, 2009 by Colleen in SEVA Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

KAR120C Posted April 29, 2009 Share Posted April 29, 2009 "Hmmm... I don't know, but what if we made 2,434 out of these base 10 blocks you put out on the table, and then divided them up? Oh, I can't divide the 2 big red ones into 5 piles, can I trade them in for 20 of the flat blue ones? Oh, that would make sense, except now I have 24 so I can use 20 of them to give each boy 4, with 4 left over, to trade in again." "Very good ideas, Blue! Now, let me show you what that whole process looks like on paper. Don't forget that each type of block has to be in its own column when you are trading in the numbers!" This is almost VERBATIM how long division worked in our house too, except it was Cuisenaire rods and smaller numbers (to fit the rods) to start with. ;) I wonder if there's a pattern here... either for mathy kids demanding this level of instruction or this level of instruction encouraging mathy kids.... hmmm... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Colleen in SEVA Posted April 29, 2009 Share Posted April 29, 2009 I wonder if there's a pattern here... either for mathy kids demanding this level of instruction or this level of instruction encouraging mathy kids.... hmmm... I think both. :) Forgot to point out above -- Blue had already been exposed to short division using base 10 blocks, so he was only applying a simple concept he was familiar with to a more challenging situation. Actually, his first exposure to division was probably cookies amongst his brothers. Red can already look at how many cookies he has, and how many cookies his brothers have, and know when he's getting short changed. I think cookies must be a great motivational tool for figuring out math.:lol: Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

KAR120C Posted April 29, 2009 Share Posted April 29, 2009 (edited) I think both. :) Forgot to point out above -- Blue had already been exposed to short division using base 10 blocks, so he was only applying a simple concept he was familiar with to a more challenging situation. Actually, his first exposure to division was probably cookies amongst his brothers. Red can already look at how many cookies he has, and how many cookies his brothers have, and know when he's getting short changed. I think cookies must be a great motivational tool for figuring out math.:lol: The only child who never had to learn division with cookies... :lol: We did the Cuisenaire rods and just extrapolated from there... but had I had the base ten blocks (almost my only failing in the manipulatives department!) we would have done it just like you did! Our biggest example of math motivation was money. As soon as it was his to spend he figured out the counting of it pretty darn quick! LOL There were about six months in there when we had a house rule that if he found coins around the house and could tell me exactly how much they were worth he could keep them. But after six months he had collected like $20 and we had to start keeping better track of our coins lest he make too much of a dent in the household budget! ;) ETA: I just re-read this (only 12 hours later... ack) and realized it was clear in my head but not on paper -- I meant "only child" meaning he's an only child and therefore never had to share the cookies with that many brothers! LOL Not that he's the only-child-who-ever-learned-division-without-cookies. Whoops! :) Edited April 30, 2009 by KAR120C clarity... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Spy Car Posted April 29, 2009 Share Posted April 29, 2009 (edited) OK, I'm feeling self-conscious about posting this and want to "defend" myself. :) I know someone is going to read this and think that we just rushed through things, that he isn't solid on his basics, that I'm pushing him, etc (you know those posts I'm talking about... why I rarely share with the public what we are really learning here ha ha). Far from throwing a brick-bat at you, in reading the rest of your outstanding post I kept exclaiming: YES! YES! YES! And want to toss you flowers :001_smile: You expressed beautifully both the pit-falls of "typical" math education, and presented a clear-cut alternative. And your way of teaching completely resonates with me, as I'm trying to accomplish the very same thing (in terms of methods and modalities) with my 4.75 year old. Bravo! This was a very inspiring post. This is almost VERBATIM how long division worked in our house too, except it was Cuisenaire rods and smaller numbers (to fit the rods) to start with. ;) I wonder if there's a pattern here... either for mathy kids demanding this level of instruction or this level of instruction encouraging mathy kids.... hmmm... I think both. :) I've really been pondering this question myself in recent days. With my son we started with Cuisenaire Rod play, gently added Miquon, inspired by Miquon started making up many other ways to make ideas concrete, added Singapore Earlybird, then MEP, and many Right Start Elements, recently CSMP, and all in the spirit of fun and keeping things new and exciting. But always taking care that there was a developmentally appropriate transition from the concrete to the abstract. And I'm finding myself with a very "mathy" kid. And it makes me wonder about the whole "nature vs nurture" debate. Because my son, while obviously a bright kid, is an extroverted boy-boy and not someone anyone (myself included) would peg as a "math genius". But boy, when ideas are shown clearly in ways their minds can comprehend, it astounds me what children can do. I'm in no push to meet some "benchmark" or to rush through anything, but like you two I feel you only get one shot at building a young child's mind. And if you can find means of building a "deep brain" why not do so? Bill Edited April 29, 2009 by Spy Car Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Desert Rat Posted April 29, 2009 Author Share Posted April 29, 2009 This is why I love this board! I agree with Bill, Colleen and Erica. We've pretty much stuck with Singapore but for fun we do Mathmania by Highlights and I have used the DK line of math books to cement some facts. My ds9 didn't learn long division with cookies. He just knew how to do it. I really lucked out. I will be keeping what I know refer to as the Cookie Post for use with Tom. My main struggle is that he can do complex math problems in his head and yet in higher maths he will need to show his work. He thinks this is dumb. He also hates when his mental math is flawed and I make him long hand it. :o I, too, am discouraged how math (and most other subjects) is taught in school. If my kids want to know something, we'll figure it out. My list of google searches in the last month would crack anyone up. LOL My ds9 loved negative numbers at 5. My ds6 loves simple multiplication and is picking up math with no problem. My rule of thumb is we move at their pace and if we need to review we stop and review. I want learning to be fun and enjoyable. Of course, they still have to learn some things they'd rather not. In our house, it's grammar and composition. But even then, I try to make it fun even when I don't feel like it. Colleen, thank you for going so in depth. I don't have any specific questions for you. I think I've got what I need. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And thank you to the members of this board. You all reassure me that are intelligent, witty and genuinely nice people left out there. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Supertechmom Posted May 1, 2009 Share Posted May 1, 2009 Our problem stems from him wanting to do all of his calculations in his head. He gets them right about 75% of the time but I require him to show his work which makes him dig in his heals. TIA I told my kid that as long as he gave me the right answer, that was enough. And he normally gets them right without any misses. Until he went into NEM. Then we play the "professor" game. I'm the mean professor who believes he didn't do the work and just copied the answer. Mine is appalled at the idea that 1) anyone would copy an answer and 2) that someone would think he did :) I explained to him that a professor that saw just answers would not be happy and would consider that suspect of cheating. A nice professor would give a person a chance to show he knew how to do the work before kicking him out. However, if a kid stood there and said "i don' know how I did that. I just did it." (as mine does frequently) the professor would not believe he could do the problems. Mine was astounded that people would think such ways. And that he might get kicked out of MIT because he couldn't explain how he arrived at an answer. For some reason this provided extreme motivation. LOL! I felt bad explaining it to him this way but thought this is what they did in college. He'll find out soon enough. So we spent probably 2 very long chapters learning to write the process down on paper that would "prove" he did the work. At first, he had no clue how to get it on paper. Then he would put say 2 steps and call it good. Then I would ask questions back and forth about all the steps he left out. Finally, we hit the groove and he would produce very nice well written solved problems. Now whenever he turns in a paper that is all answers, I know he simply can't fathom how to get it on paper. We stop and work and work on writing the process. He can do it it in his mind quicker than I can do it on a calculator and is normally 100% right. But figuring out how to put that on paper can take hours it seems. I never knew that one could figure a problem in such a way that couldn't be written intelligibly on paper. It's helped a bunch in that he has a better understanding of algebra which is more important to me than him getting it right without the work. Plus, he's an argumentative child and this gives him a good workout in debate :D Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

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