Math In Focus: The Singapore Approach is a math program
for kindergarten through 5 th grade. Singapore math has a reputation
for focusing on the how and why behind math concepts, and Math
in Focus is an attempt to align this methodology with math
standards in the United States. I received the Level 5A set, which
includes a Teacher's Edition, a Level 5A Textbook, and a Level
5A Workbook. I also received the Level 5 Assessments and the Virtual
Manipulatives CD-R om .
Level 5A is designed to be used in the first semester of fifth
grade. There are seven chapters in Level 5A, and each chapter is
devoted to a single topic: "Whole Numbers," "Whole Number Multiplication
and Division," "Fractions and Mixed Numbers," "Multiplying and
Dividing Fractions and Mixed Numbers," "Algebra," "Area of a Triangle," and "Ratio." The
textbook is a nice, full-color, hardback edition. There is some
instruction to the student in the text, but lessons will most likely
need to be presented from the Teacher's Edition. The Teacher's
Edition is oversized, and it contains reduced copies of the student
textbook pages (with answers filled in), along with teaching notes
and objectives. The lesson objectives are easily referenced, and
they walk you through how to teach the lesson. There are practice
problems in the student text, and the Teacher's Edition lets you
know at what point in the lesson your student should complete these
problems. There are only a handful of practice problems in the
text, but the Workbook contains additional black-and-white practice
for each lesson. The Teacher's Edition also includes reduced copies
of the worksheets with answers.
The Assessment 5 book contains pretests and chapter tests for
each chapter for both Level 5A and 5B. It also contains two benchmark
assessments, a test for mid-year, and a final test. The benchmark
assessments is a cumulative test for chapters 1 through 4 in Level
5A, and then chapters 8 through 10 for Level 5B.
Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach relies on manipulatives
and diagrams to illustrate concepts when they are introduced. Traditional
manipulatives can be used, or you can purchase their CD-R om of
Virtual Manipulatives. I received the Intermediate level for Grades
3 through 5. This CD-R om contains virtual manipulatives for ten
categories: counters, base-ten blocks, number lines, number charts,
graphs, fractions, geometry, measurement, algebra, and probability.
The student can choose from different activities within each category.
For example, in the fractions category, the student can show, compare,
add, subtract, multiply, use proportional reason, or explore fractions.
The student can also choose to use bars or circles to show the
Overall, I think Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach is
a strong math program. It is a bit on the expensive side for an
elementary program; Level 5A is $123.90, and Level 5B is also $123.90.
The assessments are an additional $37.45. The lessons are clear,
and if both the textbook and workbook are used, I think there is
enough practice. The color in the textbook will appeal to many
students, and the Teacher's Edition is well written and easy to
use. While I think the Virtual Manipulatives CD-R om is a neat
idea, I prefer traditional hands-on manipulatives to demonstrate
math concepts. At first glance $109.15 for the CD-R om seems expensive,
but when I remembered how much all the different traditional manipulatives
would cost if purchased individually, it seems more reasonable.
I think it's a great option if storage space is an issue or if
you have a student who loves to do things on the computer. If you
are in the market for a math curriculum, I would absolutely give Math
in Focus: The Singapore Approach a good look.