Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Primary School Mathematics Model Method

The children's primary school mathematics problems are getting more and more problematic. Well, the comprehension of the questions is one challenge to the children. Another challenge is, the primary schools are teaching model method, which to me, is more challenging than using algebra!

Pei Pei once asked me why she had to show the working using model method even though she could solve the problem without the model. I asked her teacher during parent-teacher meeting, and the teacher shared that model method helps the children to make the mathematics problems visible, and the children should learn to use model method as soon as possible, so that they can use this method to solve more difficult questions. 

Now it is Hao Hao's turn to learn the model method. But he finds it difficult to understand what the bars are all about. Therefore, I have to think to ways to help him understand the interpretation of the bars.

Instead of a bar, I used concrete objects to represent. In addition, I learnt from a friend that to help children to grasp the idea of the question, instead of using complicated names, change the questions to name of people whom they can relate to.

Part-whole Concept

Example: Daddy has 3 marbles, Mummy has 2 marbles. How many marbles do they have altogether?

Of course, if you don't have marbles at home, you can use other objects that you can find at home!

Then replace the marbles by blocks. 

After that, use bars to represent. 

Comparison Concept

Example: Daddy has 3 marbles, Mummy has 2 marbles. How many more marbles does Daddy have?

Again, use the real object, followed by blocks, then by bars.

Model method is one of the heuristics to solve mathematics problems. Other heuristics include tabulating, guess and check, working backwards, simplifying a problem, and considering special cases.

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