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Thursday, September 24, 2015

North Hills Christian School adopts Singapore Math curriculum

North Hills Christian School’s mission statement is “equipping the hearts and minds of students to impact the world for Christ.” However, beginning this school year, a city nearly halfway around the world is having its own impact at the school. For the past year, the staff and faculty of NHCS have been busy preparing for the introduction of a math program referred to as Singapore Math.

From left, Kristen Sabia works with North Hills Christian School students Colton Helms, Samuel Hammill, Alexis Martinez and Triston Rabon using the Singapore Math curriculum adopted by the school. 
Photo: Salisbury Post

Singapore Math refers to a methodology of teaching that emphasizes a conceptual approach to understanding math. The curriculum, first introduced to the United States in 1998, is based on techniques developed for the Singapore education system. According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), since the curriculum’s introduction, Singapore students have been at the top of world rankings in math. With encouraging results, Singapore Math is now being taught at many of the top private and public schools in the United States, including NHCS.

Singapore Math generally focuses on fewer topics but in much greater depth. Students don’t just learn how to solve for an answer; they learn the how and why of the method. There is an emphasis on mastery of mathematical concepts. The method is unique in the fact that the methods of teaching have been developed to enhance the learning experience for both visual and auditory learners. The primary approach is referred to as CPA: Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract. This methodology is a layered approach which allows students to build a solid foundation in a developmentally appropriate sequence. During the Concrete phase, students manipulate objects to gain a foundational understanding about what is being taught. At the Pictorial phase, the student moves to a drawn representation of the concept. Finally, the student is led to the Abstract phase, where problems are written out on paper using numbers and symbols. This approach allows students to understand the “why” before the “how.”.

Source: Salisbury Post