kitchen table math, the sequel: Numbers to 20 and the prevalence of making tens

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Numbers to 20 and the prevalence of making tens

Someone else commented that their impression was that the making tens stuff comes and goes relatively quickly in Singapore math as students learn their addition facts.

I have a couple of comments: first, to take off on what CassyT says, we are handicapped by our length of living. It may seem to the adult whose child has grown that this making tens stuff goes relatively quickly as their mathematical competence comes in. But that isn't true in the time frame of grade 1.

By the end of grade 1, PM has kids doing mental math to 100, so yes,big picture, the specific strategy of making tens doesn't last long. But to the first grader, it's what they do for nearly all year, constantly, repeatedly, and for weeks on end. Successful mastery of it will make the learning of addition and subtraction facts much easier, and students who have committed the answers to memory don't rely on them anymore. That process takes thousands of examples for many children.

Second comment: most people here used Singapore math primarily as a home or after-schooler. Often, the parent was mathematically talented and often, so was the student. Few of these people saw or read in detail about the pedagogy used in PM. Almost none *did* the main portion of that pedagogy: the concrete portion, skipping often to the textbook almost immediately. I will speak more about this in another post.

Here's the outline of the unit showing the prevalence of Making Tens:




9 comments:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

When we did Singapore Math, my son pretty much did it all himself. After a while, he even stopped reading the textbook, as he found the exercises in the workbook told him all he needed to know. The exercises are well-designed that way.

Allison said...

But he is/was not a typical classroom student. It is important to remember this curriculum is for the large bell curve of students.

Glen said...

GSWP, your son has done so many remarkable things that if some great university doesn't snap him up, I will take it as a bad omen.

SJ said...

I did/do SM with a kid who is not gifted in arithmetic. We did a vast amount of making tens. Like a year of it.

Cassandra Turner said...

And I always say "Handicapped by our superior knowledge". But length of living works too! We've been doing this math for years and we forget what it is like not to have the background knowledge. I remember long division in fourth grade...so I've been working with long division for 38 years!

Auntie Ann said...

Cassandra, that's one of the things I really liked about using SM Primary 5. I took the time to actually read and use the teachers' manual, and I really learned a lot. I had to step back and remember what it was like when it was new.

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As for long division, when I first taught it to our kid, I showed him how to bring numbers down, and did so by making a dotted line down from the number (so the page had lots of vertical lines under the dividend.) He adopted that, and I saw how it really kept the numbers lined up and kept him from getting lost in the problem. I recommend it! With kids, keeping the columns lined up is hard, and this made it easy.

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Crimson Wife said...

I can't speak to any other homeschoolers, but we definitely started with manipulatives when using Singapore Primary Math before going to the pictorial step. Even my middle schooler sometimes still uses manipulatives. Today I brought out the algebra tiles for her lesson in Singapore Discovering Math 8A.

lgm said...

ime in afterschooling, the lack of need for the concrete is not because of talent, but because of experience..developed talent and a mind developed to the point of being able to comprehend the pictorial explanation. The preschool years were spent productively, with blocks, legos, puzzles, playing store, etc. Many of today's students do not participate in household activies, such as setting the table, or sorting silverware, that would give them the necessary experience to easily move from concrete to pictorial by third grade.