thinkingMath workshops for primary students

A SERIES of primary mathematics workshops organised by onSponge Pte Ltd for children in Primary 3-6 were held in the first half of the June school holidays. The workshops were based on the thinkingMath books that were published in January 2009.

The common feedback from the children was that they enjoyed the way problem sums solving was presented at the workshop.

Many indicated that, besides the model method taught in schools, they also learned other new strategies to solve challenging problems.

Some of these strategies were based on the remainder concept, identifying patterns, noting repeated identities in a problem, and many more.

Mathematics problem solving is fun

“I enjoyed the workshop because maths is fun! I have learnt many new strategies and can solve many maths problem sums easily,” said Estella Aditirto, a primary 4 student at Singapore Chinese Girls' School. She had attended the 1 June workshop.

Feedback from the children who attended ranged from "taught me many new maths strategies", "it was fun!", to "I now understand how to solve problem sums better!", and "I can solve difficult problems more easily".

"I enjoyed myself because it was a very fun-filled workshop and the teachers were very funny. I have learnt how to solve difficult maths problems and can now conquer them!” declared Alex Chia, a primary 6 student from Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) who attended the 2 June workshop.

Said Brian Hong who is in primary 5 at St Andrew's Junior School (SAJS): "I have learnt that maths can be fun! Now I am able to solve many types of maths problem sums.”

Alexander Lo, a primary 5 student from ACS (Junior) noted that the trainers taught him "useful strategies". He said: "I have learned how to use them to solve maths problem sums."

Jurong Primary's Christine Lee who is in primary 5 added that she had learned new concepts and also made new friends! She said: "I can how conquer maths problem sums with confidence!"

Dominic Heng in primary 5 at Catholic High School said that the strategies taught were fun and easy to understand. "Maths is fun! I am now able to solve more maths problem sums."

"I am now able to solve problem sums using different methods," said Jeffrey Ong, a primary 5 student at Northland Primary. 

Agreeing were Sangeeta Selvarajoo, a primary 5 student at Fairfield Methodist Primary and Sheryn Lee, a primary 6 student at Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (Toa Payoh).


Facilitated individual and group work

The workshop programmes featured problem solving using both individual and group work, and included games and a contest-like approach to learning that helped to enliven the proceedings. The facilitated learning was carried out with much humour and fun by the trainers and facilitators.

Joel Chan, a primary 5 student from ACS (Junior) said: "I enjoyed the workshop because it was fun with games and quizzes! I have learnt many new concepts and am now able to solve problem sums which I couldn’t do before.”


Why the workshops

onSponge spokesperson Ms Wendy Choong said: "We felt it was timely that an introduction was provided of the main strategies used in the books to children who are users."  She added that the response of parents to the workshops validated that perception. 

"This series of workshops comprised an introduction to some of the key strategies," explained Ms Wendy Choong.

She added that based on feedback from parents and children, onSponge is planning another series of workshops. In addition, a parents' workshop is also being considered to help them appreciate the strategies better.

Ms Wendy Choong said: "A key purpose of introducing thinkingMath books was to help parents, educators and other interested stakeholders like tutors to facilitate their children's learning of problem sums solving skills."

She added that the idea of such a parents' workshop was thus in line with that objective.

For more on the workshop ...

Click to view the pictures taken during the workshop


Click to view testimonials from some students who attended the workshop


Click to view creative animal number creations by students