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ERIC Number: EJ902167
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Raise the Bar on Problem Solving
Englard, Lisa
Teaching Children Mathematics, v17 n3 p156-163 Oct 2010
In a 1981 diagnostic test, the Ministry of Education in Singapore found its country facing a challenge: Only 46 percent of students in grades 2-4 could solve word problems that were presented without such key words as "altogether" or "left." Yet today, according to results from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2007), Singapore students continue to place among the best mathematical problem solvers in the world. How did this small country improve its students' performance? It all began with an approach, developed by a team of educators, which advocated a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract strategy. The "model method," as it is known in Singapore, has students draw a pictorial model to represent quantities and their relationships. The model puts the focus back on the relationships and actions presented in the problem, and helps students choose both the operations and sequence of steps that are needed to solve a problem. In this article, the author explores the possibilities of the model method in her third-grade class and discusses the results of this method. In conclusion, the Singapore model method provides a visual approach to help future astronauts, engineers, and other workers focus on mathematical relationships, operations, and actions. Posttest questions and an answer key are appended. (Contains 5 tables and 9 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore