Conquer primary maths problem sums effectively!

THE Singapore Straits Times (ST) in a 27 June story featured onSponge's ThinkingMath lead panel member Ammiel Wan, dean of curriculum at Catholic High School (Primary) about how he got the idea for the teacher's handbook, Challenging Maths Made Easy.

Published in 2006 by the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Teacher's Network, Challenging Maths Made Easy introduced the cognitive conceptual approach to the teaching of primary mathematics. According to the ST story, the Teacher's Network title has reportedly sold 14,000 copies since its publication three years ago.

Following that, in order to help students to benefit from the concepts in the teacher's reference, onSponge collaborated with Ammiel Wan and a panel of consultants in 2008 to organise the material according to the MOE mathematics syllabus.

Thus was born the student print resource called the Conquer Problem Sums book series for primary schools, published in early 2009 as part of the ThinkingMath@onSponge programme that includes electronic resources and interactive learning.

ThinkingMath@onSponge programme

The ThinkingMath@onSponge programme for primary schools bridges the gap between limited classroom learning time and unproductive drilling with assessment books. It addresses the practical needs of teachers  and students by incorporating both thinking and procedural learning - core aspects of problem sum solving. This learning with thinking walks pupils through the process: understand the problem context first before looking at alternative representations/relations based on problem statements.

The programme's print component, the Conquer Problem Sums series is designed as an enhanced learning resource for primary school students, and follows the school's syllabus (Primary 3 to Primary 6)  to complement the student's textbooks and workbooks on solving word problems.  In comparison, Challenging Maths Made Easy is strategy focused targeted at educators themselves.

The interactive learning component includes elaboration of the concepts, cross references, alternative solutions (where available) to word problems, and a forum.

Besides the print series, certain features of the programme's interactive component are already available:

  • online forum that registered users (children, parents, educators and other stakeholders) can access and get further assistance with using the books, and how to solve related problems.
  • explanation of how the concepts or Key Constructs (see discussion on constant difference in the forum) are applied using worked examples taken from across the series of books. Besides constant difference, users can check out on the application of other Key Constructs to facilitate the solving of word problems.



onSponge recently organised workshops to increase appreciation of the use of the ThinkingMath student learning approach. More are being planned.

The workshops are structured to cater to different needs, be it for parents, children or educators.

Those interested in these workshops can choose to be alerted about when these are held via the email address provided at registration or simply email

For educators and parents interested in knowing more about the student books (as part of the ThinkingMath programme) can contact the publisher onSponge Pte Ltd at