# Singapore Math ?: Transition from Primary Math 6 to NEM

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I would like to better understand the concerns of those coming from Primary Math 6, to New Elementary Mathematics. I have read that the transition is often difficult.

I would like to know specifically what the area(s) of difficulty is/are. Some guesses I have are:

* material coverage gap

* change in problem solving styles expected

* style of presentation of books (from large print with cartoons to dense text?)

I would truly like to understand this issue, as part of my effort to decide how to implement a math curriculum for my young children, specifically in how to direct their early primary math education to fit junior high school level expectations.

Thank you!

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I don't know much but I am interested. Have you asked at singapore math forums? I was over there the other week, wondering the same things. (I'm a long-range planner:)) Anyhow, there are 3 different texts from Singapore and they are at slightly different levels. NEM is the top level but there is another one called Discovering Mathematics that is also good.

From what I understand NEM has harder problems that are extrapolated from the examples given in the lesson. This means that the solution isn't obvious from the lesson that is taught. The student has to take the information from the lesson and use it in a new way to solve the problem. This results in really great math thinking but I would find it a challenge to teach.:D

I haven't actually seem any of these texts in person and haven't used them either, so take what I say with the proverbial grain of salt.:)

HTH

:lurk5:

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My dd finished SM6 early in 5th. I looked at NEM and I looked at Dolciani, trying to figure out what to do next. Since I thought that NEM was too big a leap (maturity wise, not academic wise) because it was dense with words, and that the latter was very dense in theory, we used the rest of 5th in doing the Russian Math 6 (perpendicularpress.com) book instead. This book repeats a a lot of SM6, and introduces neg numbers (I think way back in time I did a review on RM6--if you do a search on my name and this book you will probably find it.) At the beginning of 6th we started with NEM. The first 4 or so chapters are a review of either SM6 or RM6, so we went slowly and really made sure that she had it. Fast forward to midway through 6th: We are doing all algrebra topics first so she has finished all of that in NEM1 (we skipped the geom chapters) and we just started NEM2 (algebra only) this past week. So far, so good! I'm very happy with it. And this is a child who works diligently, is pretty bright, but is not "gifted" in math. HTH,

Jeri

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So I might not be the right person to ask....

But the major difference, IMO, is in the presentation. The problems are hard, but not harder than PM 6, and the problem solving styles are very similar (although of course moving into algebra you have more "tools" at your disposal, and the diagram method isn't as prominent).

The major difference is in the look-and-feel. The pages are much denser, the books are much bigger, and there is no room to work problems -- you're meant to do them on paper (both from the text and from the workbook). There aren't as many teacher resources available to homeschoolers - no HIG, and I think limited solutions manuals (which I've not used anyway), but for a fairly mathy parent it's not too hard to keep up. I wouldn't recommend NEM for a parent who was completely math-phobic, or one who needed to just hand over the materials and let the kid take charge -- there are kids who can do that, but NEM might not be the ideal resource for them since there's no backup plan for difficulties.

As far as what to do in the early years, I think Singapore Primary prepared DS very well for NEM. I was nervous about the transition, and we did dabble in a few other things over the summer between Primary and NEM, and drag our feet getting started... but once we had picked it up, we had no trouble at all.

Hope this helps!

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From what I understand NEM has harder problems that are extrapolated from the examples given in the lesson. This means that the solution isn't obvious from the lesson that is taught. The student has to take the information from the lesson and use it in a new way to solve the problem. This results in really great math thinking but I would find it a challenge to teach.:D

For those who do struggle with the transition this is the reason I pulled out from reading the forums as well.

I am seriously considering Developmental Math as an alternative. I am a serious math person, but my kids aren't. I am concerned that they wouldn't rise to the challenge and I would have to lead them through the concepts, which often happens with the challenging problems in CWP and IP now. According to one person who bought all of both programs DM explains the concepts better and gives the child more practice before moving into the challenging material, which isn't quite as challenging as NEM, but still works on the same thinking and problem solving process that Singapore usually does. There are answer keys for the whole DM series written by the author.

Heather

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I've only had a little bit of experience this year, but I agree with Erica & Jeri that it's a format issue.

My son is almost done with 6B (7th grader) and we stopped for a while to do the negative numbers in NEM-1. (I started fretting about testing, and afterwards ds said there wasn't one negative number on the Iowa Basics :tongue_smilie: )

Anyways, we did lesson 4 in NEM, on negative numbers. So it was past the whole review part. The lesson wasn't too hard. I mean, it was challenging & it took a few wrong answers before ds really got it, but it was suitable for him. (He's done Singapore for a long time.)

However, lesson 4 started with about 4 pages of lesson, which I suppose you could compare to a Singapore elementary lesson & a practice. Then the first exercise (4.1) had only "8" problems, but each of them had at least two parts, and up to 12 parts. Some were easy enough, such as sequencing negative & positive numbers, but they also asked him to "draw a number line" and so forth. The total was MUCh more than a Singapore workbook exercise. In 6A/B there were LOTS of reviews that were quite long, so he was somewhat used to doing more problems, but not this many problems.

By Exercise 4.2, he was supposed to copy charts and to do problems that had (a) through ® for some of the basic adding & subtracting of negative numbers. That's something like up to 18 equations per problem, and 10 problems total?!

To me, it needs to be parceled out. And it's one of those things that is worth it for a public school teacher to schedule out, since they'll be teaching hundreds of kids over many years. But for us measly homeschool parents, scheduling it all out for one student to use once is kinda time consuming.

The good math skills just might be worth it, though.

Jeanie, the HIG author, is really encouraging the new Discovering series. Wouldn't it be nice if she figured it out for homeschoolers :001_smile:

I already have something I love for algebra so I probably will just use NEM as an extra, but I thought I'd share my very recent experience.

Julie

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The major difference is in the look-and-feel. The pages are much denser, the books are much bigger, and there is no room to work problems --

This is what led me to decide to use Singapore's Discovering Mathematics after 6b instead of NEM. It's also for grades 7-10, but the look and feel is much more like PM - ample white space, there are the (older) kids with thought bubbles, and two books per year. You do still have to write the answers out on paper rather than there being a workbook - but I thought that would make it a good transition. There are also complete solution manuals.

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My experience is old. I did this some 6 or 7 years ago with my first dc. The big difference I saw between NEM and other pre-algebra and some algebra 1 programs was that, in the early chapters, NEM introduced very complicated combining of terms immediately, whereas other programs proceeded much more gradually through different steps. And I will say that every prealgebra course we looked at was way too simplistic after having completed SM 6. Ds, then in 7th, did struggle with NEM; and I got frustrated and ditched it about midyear for Foerster's Algebra 1. I don't regret that decision. I feel that proofs, which NEM does not address, represent an important aspect of logical thinking. However, no curriculum beats NEM for maximum difficulty in a word problem expressed in a minimum number of words!

I've gotten OT from your original concerns. My next dc is finishing SM 6B this year and we will switch to a "traditional" track for next year mainly because we are more comfortable with that.

Mary

Edited by Mary in GA
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This isn't off topic at all -- all of these posts are great! Keep talking! I'm taking notes.

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From what I understand NEM has harder problems that are extrapolated from the examples given in the lesson. This means that the solution isn't obvious from the lesson that is taught. The student has to take the information from the lesson and use it in a new way to solve the problem. This results in really great math thinking but I would find it a challenge to teach.:DHTH

This is true in the chapter test sections of Foerster's as well. Don't know about other curricula.

Mary

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My next dc is finishing SM 6B this year and we will switch to a "traditional" track for next year mainly because we are more comfortable with that.

I'm planning to use one year of Discovering Mathematics as a transition year between PM 6b and a "traditional" track.

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