Dimensions Math Teacher's Guide 2A
Dimensions Math® PreK-5 series features the progression, rigor, and pacing that define Singapore math. Throughout the series, five characters offer students suggestions on how to think about problems. They remind students of strategies they've learned and point out important information that encourages them to come up with their own solutions.
Teacher's Guides include lesson plans, mathematical background, games, helpful suggestions, and comprehensive resources for daily lessons. Lessons are laid out clearly and activities are designed for the whole class, small groups, and extension.
Textbooks and Workbooks do not include answer keys. Answers are in Teacher's Guides.
In general, the newer Singapore material is visually more appealing and this series is no exception. Perhaps it's the full-color texts, or the graphic icons, or the occasional photograph or illustration, but there's really no doubt. Compared to New Elementary Math (the other Singapore series at the secondary level), visually, it's a no-brainer. However, there are other considerations and I suspect that choices will be made in both directions.
A comparison of the scope and sequence of the two courses shows surprisingly few differences, although they are there if you look closely. Both include integrated coverage of beginning and advanced algebra topics, geometry, and some trigonometry. DM lacks an in-depth review of arithmetic topics but includes matrices, radian measures, some additional data presentation forms (box & whisker plots; stem & leaf plots), and standard deviation. DM does not include as many advanced trig topics (see description for Discovering Additional Mathematics). There is also a difference in the degree of difficulty in terms of problems worked. DM has fewer challenging problems and exercises are slightly shorter, although they are divided as to problem difficulty. As in NEM, lessons in the text consist of explanations and worked examples, but in DM each worked example is followed by a Try It! challenge that allows students to see if they have understood. Each DM chapter concludes with review, compared to every 3-4 chapters in NEM. Additionally, there are some open-ended problems and journal writing questions. Sidebar information includes brief biographical information on notable mathematicians, discussion questions, recall points, and information tidbits. Textbooks have answers to the reviews and most exercises in the back, but the Textbook Teacher's Guide includes fully worked solutions to all problems along with weekly lesson plans that include helpful website resources. Textbooks vary from 150 to 215 pgs with most running in the 200 pg neighborhood. Teacher's Guides also vary in terms of page length but tend to be 150 pgs on average, both paperback.
Workbooks (with an accent color) for each level are designed to give students more practice. The publisher suggests that the student refer to the summary of important concepts in the text before tackling the workbook problems. The workbook questions for each chapter divided into basic, further, and challenging practice categories as well as enrichment. As with the textbook there is a complete answer key in the back of the workbook, but the Workbook Teacher's Edition shows worked solutions for every problem. Avg. 160 pgs, pb
Question Banks provide an unusual tool. Included are problems for each textbook chapter (number per chapter varies) labeled by difficulty level (low, medium, high). Each problem is shown with a worked solution. These problems allow the teacher to make selections for tests and assessments. The drawback is that each problem must be hand copied/typed as the solutions are "right there" and can take up a good part of each page. Avg. 390 pgs, pb ~ Janice
Countries around the world first became interested in Singapore's math curriculum when results of the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) were published in 1995. Conducted by the International Study Center at Boston College, achievement tests in both math and science were administered to students in over 40 countries. Students from Singapore ranked highly in mathematics achievement: 1st in the fourth, seventh, and eighth grade levels and 2nd at the third grade level. Results for the U.S. were disappointing: 10th in the third grade, 11th in the fourth grade, 23rd in the seventh grade, and 27th at the eighth grade level. In a follow-up study in 1999, Singapore again ranked 1st in eighth grade math achievement while U.S. eighth graders ranked 19th. Although a first place ranking does not necessarily imply the best program, something about Singapore's math program seems to be working.
"Singapore Approach Math" is a general term referring to the math curriculum, or syllabus, designed by Singapore's Ministry of Education. The curriculum has been regularly revised over the last two decades, with most recent revisions in 2001. We carry two different lines. From SingaporeMath.com we carry Earlybird Kindergarten Math (PK-K), Primary Math (1-6), and New Elementary Math (7-10). From Great Source Educational we carry Math in Focus (K-6).
Both of these programs are produced by the same company, Marshall Cavendish Education (Singapore). The U.S. Primary Math editions have a 2003 copyright, while the newer, Standards Edition have a 2008 copyright. These are both modifications of the original edition of Singapore math. These programs are distributed in the U.S. by SingaporeMath.com. They are essentially the same, though the Standards Edition has a small amount of added material and some of the sequences have been rearranged to better meet U.S. standards. Math in Focus has a 2009 copyright. It is distributed in the U.S by Great Source, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and packaged for the homeschool community by Saxon Homeschool. So, the programs have common origins.
Primary Math and New Elementary Math are based on the 1997 mathematics syllabus. New Elementary Math has since been "phased out" of schools in Singapore (probably in favor of texts following the 2001 syllabus). However, Primary Math and New Elementary Math are the series that originally gained Singapore international recognition for excellence in mathematics.
There are now manipulatives especially designed to be used with the Singapore approach. Look for these at the end of this section.