Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Primary Mathematics - More Than, Less Than

5 is __ more than 3. Oh, there is a word "more"! So do addition, and the answer is 5 + 3 = 8!  

5 is 2 less than __. Oh, there is a word "less"! So do subtraction, and the answer is 5 - 2 = 3!


Have you ever encounter this problem when your children are doing mathematics questions on "more than" and "less than"?

When I spoke to Pei Pei's Primary 1 form teacher during the parent-teacher meeting a few months ago, I sought her advice on how to teach my children in solving this kind of problem.

The teacher shared with me that using concrete objects e.g. LEGO bricks, rubber bands and so on, to show the children, and to get them to think whether the answer required is bigger or smaller than or as same as the other two numbers in the question. 

After the child grasps the concept using concrete objects, then we can use symbols to reinforce the concept. The teacher shared with me that Primary 1 pupils learn about number bond, which shows the relationship between numbers. So using the concept of whole and parts, the children can see that "parts" are smaller than the "whole", and that the "parts" make up the "whole". 

 For example:

After looking through the school worksheets, I figured out that there are 4 general types of questions:
Type 1: Whole is Part more than Part
Type 2: Part is Part less than Whole.
Type 3: Part more than Part is Whole.
Type 4: Part less than Whole is Part.

Each type has 3 possible questions, for example, for Type 1, the questions can be:
__ is 2 more than 3.
5 is __ more than 3.
5 is 2 more than __.

So it works out to have 12 variations of questions!

Just to share the approach I attempted with my children to guide them in solving e.g. 5 is __ more than 3. 

Question 1: Is this number bigger than or smaller than or as same as 5? Is this number bigger than or smaller than or as same as 3?
[If the children still cannot get the correct answer, use concrete objects to guide them]

Question 2: Can you show me the number bond?
[Guide the children to understand that 5 is "whole", 3 and the answer are "parts"]

Question 3: How do you get the answer?
[Guide the children to consider 5 minus 3 to get 2]

How do you teach your children to solve "more than" and "less than" questions? Please share with us!

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  1. Argh, why does this sound like Greek! Looks like I'll Maths tuition in time to come :P
    Did the kids grasp the concepts easily?

    1. My children can understand this method. I also am re-learning primary mathematics, as the pedagogy nowadays is quite different from how I learnt when I was young!


  3. Haha.. I got confused and kept re-reading the first 2 lines for ages! Although my kids are years away from primary school, I believe using actual objects for them to understand the concept of numbers is the way to go. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, using objects is the basis of teaching mathematical concepts.

  4. ONE word - chim. I better start practising so that my son will learn this!

  5. Well, i think it is more to logic thinking than straight forward mathematics. Some of my friends say that international school maths is straight forward than our local school math.

    1. It is good to train the children to think logically from young!

  6. Eh, the visual aids help!

    Personally, I find that if a student's grasp of the English language is not good, they would have difficulty figuring any question out that has a lot of language used. And some setters make the paper tricky with their choice of words...

    1. Agree with you that the mastery of English language is the key to do well in other subjects.

  7. Your post sends chills down my spine....help!


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