## Social Question

# What do you think of the way grade school math is taught in Singapore, as explained in this article?

I had heard that Singapore grade school students consistently rank first in international math tests, but I never before knew anything about the methods they use. This article gives a brief summary along with several example word problems. I find it kind of interesting. They use what are called strip diagrams to describe and solve the word problems.

The basic trick is to use segments to represent numbers and to divide the segments into equal sized blocks. If you can see from the diagram that, for example, two blocks must add up to some number, divide by 2 to get the block value and then use that to solve the problem.

For a good challenge, see if you can solve the two problems on the bottom of page 44 without algebra. Even after looking at the diagrams on the next page, it took me a while to see the trick for solving the second problem without algebra.