# Breakthrough in Solving Math Problem Sums

Hi Parents,

With 10 years in the educational field helping children to do better in Math, we often have parents asking for their children’s learning to be paced alongside the schools’ curriculum timetable if not ahead of it.

Last week, MOE’s announcement has echoed our response all these years – when a child needs academic help outside of school, chances are he is not pacing well in school. Tuition that chases after the school’s timetable and regurgitate similar approaches used in schools will not improve the child’s performance.

The transition years at P3 and P5 do require more time to manage the increased curriculum. These are also the levels where we see big drops in marks. The impact of removing the mid-year exams in 2020 is anybody’s guess. However, we can agree that examinations will remain an important benchmark and preparation for one means anxiety, FOMO (fear of missing out) which leads to doing every possible exam papers, home tension, extra lessons, etc.

Ms Teri Toh, a 35-year veteran HOD in Math who served the MOE as a teacher mentor shared that PSLE starts in Primary 1 since learning takes time to build strong foundations in:

1. Knowledge

2. Technique

3. Solving Skills

Of the 3 components, topical knowledge and/or techniques are easier to acquire because these are more about knowing the way to do something in theory. Besides, these are well covered and practised in schools.

Before we touch on solving skills. Do you often complain that after your child is taught to solve a specific type of problem sum, he still struggles with similar questions when they are tweaked slightly? Well, that’s where having the right solving skills will make the difference. In short, solving skill is about applying the knowledge and techniques which the child must first acquire. It is not possible to have the solving skill if he does not first have the mathematical concept to a topic. The converse of this is not true; your child need not have skill to have the concept. As such, a student skilled in the solving of Math problem sum will know the various issues or problems that can arise when dealing with a mathematical operation, however much the question is tweaked.

To be able to do so, more effort and time are needed to hone such critical thinking skills that differentiate the higher-performing students from the average.

If your child has no problem understanding all the math concepts but struggles to solve the problem sums accurately during important tests, this is probably the reason.

Starting this SA2, help your child with the right skills not drills!

Elsa Tan

Co-founder onSponge

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With 10 years in the educational field helping children to do better in Math, we often have parents asking for their children’s learning to be paced alongside the schools’ curriculum timetable if not ahead of it.

Last week, MOE’s announcement has echoed our response all these years – when a child needs academic help outside of school, chances are he is not pacing well in school. Tuition that chases after the school’s timetable and regurgitate similar approaches used in schools will not improve the child’s performance.

**Learning takes time**. Progress will show when the time is rightly used to close gaps of understanding in learning.The transition years at P3 and P5 do require more time to manage the increased curriculum. These are also the levels where we see big drops in marks. The impact of removing the mid-year exams in 2020 is anybody’s guess. However, we can agree that examinations will remain an important benchmark and preparation for one means anxiety, FOMO (fear of missing out) which leads to doing every possible exam papers, home tension, extra lessons, etc.

Ms Teri Toh, a 35-year veteran HOD in Math who served the MOE as a teacher mentor shared that PSLE starts in Primary 1 since learning takes time to build strong foundations in:

1. Knowledge

2. Technique

3. Solving Skills

**Knowledge**refers to the topical content and mathematical concepts found in the syllabus.**Technique**refers to the heuristics or tools that are needed to solve questions.**Solving Skills**refers to the ability to comprehend mathematical language to interpret into mathematical relationships, organise and present the solving process, and then apply relevant strategies to construct the solutions to arrive at the answer.Of the 3 components, topical knowledge and/or techniques are easier to acquire because these are more about knowing the way to do something in theory. Besides, these are well covered and practised in schools.

Before we touch on solving skills. Do you often complain that after your child is taught to solve a specific type of problem sum, he still struggles with similar questions when they are tweaked slightly? Well, that’s where having the right solving skills will make the difference. In short, solving skill is about applying the knowledge and techniques which the child must first acquire. It is not possible to have the solving skill if he does not first have the mathematical concept to a topic. The converse of this is not true; your child need not have skill to have the concept. As such, a student skilled in the solving of Math problem sum will know the various issues or problems that can arise when dealing with a mathematical operation, however much the question is tweaked.

To be able to do so, more effort and time are needed to hone such critical thinking skills that differentiate the higher-performing students from the average.

**Lacking in critical problem-solving skills, is generally one of the reasons for students struggling to score an ‘A’ in Math despite studying diligently and consistently.**If your child has no problem understanding all the math concepts but struggles to solve the problem sums accurately during important tests, this is probably the reason.

**The good news is - it is never too late for your child to experience the breakthrough to learning the right skills**to gain the confidence and enjoy the stark improvement in his Math performance in a reasonably short period of time.Starting this SA2, help your child with the right skills not drills!

Elsa Tan

Co-founder onSponge

*P.S Using the onSponge +hinkingMath curriculum and approach, Oodles Learning focuses on helping students to build the essential skills needed to score A/A* for Math.*

Since 2012, Oodles Learning has helped thousands of students to excel in PSLE Math Exams. Currently, there are 10 centres island-wide, with more centres opening in the very near future. Click here to view Oodles Learning Open House schedule happening this November.Since 2012, Oodles Learning has helped thousands of students to excel in PSLE Math Exams. Currently, there are 10 centres island-wide, with more centres opening in the very near future. Click here to view Oodles Learning Open House schedule happening this November.

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