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Primary Mathematics

  1. Why are there three different editions of Primary Mathematics?

    The series has been adapted several times to suit diverse needs.

    Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition is an adaptation for use in the U.S. It is almost identical to the original edition used in Singapore but has a few added sections for U.S. customary measurements. It uses American spelling and conventions. We will carry this edition indefinitely.

    Primary Mathematics Standards Edition meets the Mathematics Contents Standards for California Public Schools, adopted as an approved textbook by the California State Board of Education in 2007 for grades 1-5. It is similar to the U.S. Edition with some added units in probability, data analysis, negative numbers, and coordinate graphing.

    Primary Mathematics Common Core Edition aligns with Common Core State Standards. Only minor changes were made to scope and sequence, but this edition is not interchangeable with earlier editions. The format for the Teacher's Guides for the Common Core Edition have been updated to include student materials, making them wraparound guides. A digital component, Primary Digital, can be used as a supplement.

  2. What are the differences between the editions?
    The following table lists the major differences between the three editions, and the major features and components of each.

Common Core Edition Standards Edition U.S Edition
First published 2014 2008 2003
Format Differences All textbooks are in color. Workbooks are black and white. The reviews at the end of each unit are not cumulative but cover only the unit. Practice questions are removed and integrated into the lessons. There is a glossary, index, and Common Core curriculum map at the back of each textbook. All textbooks are in color. Workbooks are black and white. There is a cumulative review after each unit. There are practice pages in the textbook.
There is a glossary and index at the back of each textbook.
Textbooks 4A-5B have a list of California mathematics content standards. Workbook 1A-2B have "Math at Home".
Textbooks 1A-2B are in full color. 3A and up are two-tone. Workbooks are black and white. There are cumulative reviews after some units. There are practice pages in the textbook.
There are no glossaries, indexes, Math at Home pages or list of standards.
Topic Differences Click to view a scope and sequence comparison of the three editions of Primary Mathematics.
Teacher's Guides Include small-scale pictures of textbooks and workbooks. Each lesson includes applicable Common Core standards. Do not include images of textbook and workbook pages. Each lesson includes applicable California Content standards. Only some levels have a revised edition of the guide with a table-like format for the lessons.
Home Instructor's Guides
Not available.
Available for 1A-5B. Not available for 6A and 6B. Answer Keys 1A-3B and 4A-6B are available (answers are also in the guides). Available for 1A-6B. Answer Keys 1A-3B and 4A-6B are available (answers are also in the guides).
Supplement Titles Extra Practice CC
Challenging Word Problems CC
Extra Practice
Challenging Word Problems
Extra Practice
Singapore Math® Intensive Practice
Challenging Word Problems
Sample pages
Each product page contains table of contents and sample pages.
Placement tests Go to Placement Tests
  1. Are there answers in the textbooks or workbooks?
    No. Answers are in the Teacher's Guides, Home Instructor's Guides, or in separate answer keys.

  2. Do we need both the textbook and workbook? What is the difference between them?
    Yes, you need both. The textbook contains the learning tasks that are done as part of the lesson. It also has practices and reviews to be done in class. The workbook contains the independent work (which can be used for homework).

  3. What is the difference between the Teacher's Guide and the Home Instructor's Guide?
    The Teacher's Guide is geared towards class instruction, whereas the Home Instructor's Guide is geared towards teaching one or a few students. The Teacher's Guide has daily lesson plans. The Home Instructor's Guide has flexible lesson plans that can be tailored to suit the individual student. Both have answers to all textbook and workbook problems, but the Home Instructor's Guides have more step-by-step solutions and some alternate solutions. For levels or editions without a Home Instructor's Guide, homeschoolers may use the Teacher's Guides. The format is diffferent but they are still applicable in homeschool settings.

  4. I am using Primary Mathematics to teach my children at home. Do I need a guide?
    Using a guide is highly recommended. Guides offer background notes about the concepts, suggestions for introducing concepts, and information about previous lessons. The guide emphasizes topics taught differently from most U.S. math programs, such as bar models to diagram word problems and mental math techniques. Guides also include mental math sheets and suggestions for helping students memorize math facts.

  5. Where can I find more practice exercises?
    We offer a variety of supplementary books for the elementary grades.

    Extra Practice, Challenging Word Problems, and Intensive Practice can all be used with Primary Mathematics.

    Other supplementary titles are not designed specifically for the Primary Mathematics series but provide excellent additional practice and content. Any of them can be used with any of the editions of Primary Mathematics . Please see the Supplementary Math FAQ for more information.

  6. I want to start using Primary Mathematics. Which edition should I use?
    For schools starting the program, we suggest the Common Core Edition. For homeschoolers, we believe all three are equally appropriate. For parents looking to supplement their children's schoolwork, we suggest the Common Core Edition or U.S. Edition. Factors for consideration include the added content in the Standards Edition and the alignment to Common Core State Standards in the Common Core Edition.

    The basic methodology for teaching foundational mathematics concepts is the same in all three editions and all prepare students for pre-algebra.

  7. Can we switch between editions?
    Yes, but you should finish the B books of one level before switching to the A book of the next level in a different edition. It is not advisable to switch from U.S. or Core Edition to Standards Edition between grades 5 and 6.

  8. Is the Common Core Edition of Primary Mathematics less rigorous than the U.S. Edition?
    No, it is not. It meets the math requirements per grade level for the Common Core State Standards, and maintains the integrity of the Primary Mathematics curriculum.

  9. How do I know where to place my child?
    Please use the Placement Tests. We also have a forum where you can communicate with other parents.

  10. Where can I get help once I've started using the series?
    You are welcome to visit our forum and participate in our online community.

  11. Do we need to purchase additional products such as manipulatives, for use with this curriculum?
    Teachers in Singapore use simple manipulatives such as flash cards, charts and 3-dimensional objects. Click here to view a chart listing the manipulatives used in the Home Instructor's Guides is available, and click here to see Manipulatives we carry.

  12. How teacher-intensive is the program?
    As with any program, effective supervision plays an important role. The more involved you are in your student's math education, the better the chances for addressing lack of comprehension in a timely manner. The curriculum was not designed to be self-taught.

  13. Is there any part of the Singapore Math® program which is independent learning?
    The student is expected to do all the work in the workbooks independently.

  14. Can we use Teacher's Guides, Home Instructor's Guides and answer key booklets from one edition with books from another edition?
    No. The Primary Mathematics textbooks, workbooks, guides,
    and tests for one edition are not interchangeable with those of another edition.

Comparison with other math programs

  1. How do Singapore Math® programs compare with other math programs?
    Singapore Math® programs offer a balance between creative problem solving and drills. Customers who have used other programs think that the Singapore approach moves along to more abstract math concepts in a more rational way and often more quickly. Other positive feedback indicates that the Singapore approach encourages better problem solving skills and creative thinking.

  2. Do Singapore Math® programs use the incremental, spiral or unit-style approach?
    The Singapore Math® curriculum does not conform strictly to any of the above approaches. The strong point of Primary Mathematics is its clear and multi-pronged presentation of concepts. There is an effective mix of drill, word problems and mental calculation instruction connected to all important concepts. While typical U.S. curricula touch on a larger number of topics superficially, Primary Mathematics presents the core math curriculum in a way that better prepares students for higher math.

  3. How is math drilled in Singapore?
    Individual teachers approach the process of oral drill and use of manipulatives differently. There is great emphasis on homework and practice

Model Drawing

  1. What is Model Drawing all about?

    A main feature of Primary Mathematics is a concrete to pictorial to abstract approach. Primary Mathematics teaches a problem solving technique in which students use pictorial models. This approach is often called the model approach. In the model approach, students draw bar diagrams to represent problem situations. This allows students to visually relate various information to an unknown amount and helps them determine which mathematical expressions are useful in solving the problem.

    The purpose of drawing the models is not to encourage students to follow specific rules, but to understand the concepts and choose a good problem solving method. For complex problems, several strategies are possible, and drawing the model allows the student to visualize a good strategy. Drawing bar models is a valuable tool for solving non-routine problems. These problems might also be solved using algebra, but for children at the primary level a model approach can be preferable since it is less abstract.

    The model approach is most effective when integrated throughout the program. Model drawing can be used across different levels, and is a strong link to algebra in the secondary level. Students in Primary Mathematics grades 1 and 2 use number bond diagrams to solve simple word problems before they are ready to draw proportional bars in higher levels.

    A commonly used strategy is to draw units or divide a bar into units, equate the number of units to a quantity, which is either given or calculated from other quantities given in the problem, form a proportion statement, and finally to use a unitary or proportion method to get the answer. In Primary Mathematics, a unitary method is used in understanding and solving fraction, percentage, ratio, and rate problems, without necessarily drawing a bar model. Other pictorial methods are used in the program to help students understand concepts.

    The model approach, while an integral part of Singapore mathematics, represents just one part of the program. There are many other benefits when using the Primary Mathematics program.

Singapore Math® is a registered trademark of Singapore Math Inc.® and Marshall Cavendish Education Pte. Ltd.