Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach® will be used in daily math instruction. FAST’s problem-solving focus will require a subject mastery approach in mathematics. According to the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, “The research shows a clear link between what students are expected to learn and mathematics achievement: At a given grade level, greater achievement is associated with covering fewer topics in greater depth.” Math in Focus® is aligned with that goal in giving children a deep understanding of the “why” in problem solving as opposed to simply the “how”. The curriculum is common core aligned, research based, problem solving focused and in-line with design thinking.
The method emphasizes a concrete to pictorial to abstract approach that is effective with children who struggle in math and helps proficient learners accelerate into abstract thinking. Bar modeling is used to help students gain numerical fluency by teaching students a consistent way to model a problem which will lay the foundation for algebraic equations where there is a variable and an unknown. 16 The ability to model a problem will help students cross functionally in science and engineering problems. Bar modeling is mathematical prototyping that students can use to discuss and test which is aligned with design thinking. Math in Focus’® differentiated learning mechanisms allows for continuous achievement for all students as the curriculum is available through 12th grade.
FAST will seek to help parents understand the method by holding curriculum learning nights.
Project M3: Mentoring Mathematical Minds® will be used in the gifted program for these children to further learn problem solving skills by communicating ideas and problem solving methods with their peers through words, pictures, graphs and models. As students learn to communicate mathematically they will become more comfortable in explaining and revising their thinking in light of commentary from their peers and will become more proficient in organizing and clarifying their problem solving process.