Math For Elementary Teachers

A Brief Word on ‘Singapore Math™’

I was first introduced to ‘Singapore Math™’ through a Number Sense and Operations course I teach for pre-service teachers at Worcester State University. The main textbook we use is ‘Elementary Mathematics for Teachers’ by Tom Parker and Scott Baldridge. This book alone is an excellent reference for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of arithmetic; however the book also uses as supplementary materials textbooks from Singapore. Why Singapore? For starters, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) have rated Singapore’s students at or very near the top of the world rankings for 4th and 8th graders since 1995.   A major contributing factor is their textbook series.   For more information on these and other useful textbooks as well as a more detailed explanation of Singapore Math™ in general, please visit   In the meantime, I would like to touch on a few features of the texts that I find particularly useful.

The Preface to each of the Singapore textbooks (officially titled Primary Mathematics) contains the following language:

“The main feature of this package is the use of the Concrete → Pictorial → Abstract approach. The students are provided with the necessary learning experiences beginning with the concrete and pictorial stages, followed by the abstract stage to enable them to learn mathematics meaningfully. This package encourages active thinking processes, communication of mathematical ideas and problem solving.”

The mathematical explanations found on this website focus more on the ‘Pictorial’ stage, and in many instances the models I use are taken from Singapore texts. Notable examples include chip models that are used to explain the steps of the arithmetic algorithms in clips Part 1v, Part 1x, and Part 1xi, and the model drawing method of solving word problems illustrated in Part 5.

© Copyright 2012 Math for Elementary Teachers.
All rights reserved.

Singapore Math is a registered trademark of Singapore Math Inc.