To nurture RVians’ love of Mathematics, translating their efforts into competencies and confidence, and equipping them with strong critical problem solving skills.
To create a vibrant, joyful and positive learning environment for students to cultivate their love for the subject and to become skilful problem solvers.
Teaching and Learning
(A) Three Key Approaches
(i) Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach
Math is taught using the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach (commonly referred to as CPA approach). Use of Concrete materials includes manipulatives such as counters, measuring tools or other objects that the students can handle during the lessons.
Pictorial representations include models, drawings, diagrams, charts or graphs that are drawn by the students or are provided for the students to read and interpret. Abstract refers to symbolic representations such as numbers or letters that the student writes or interprets to demonstrate understanding of a task. The lessons are designed using the C-P-A sequence and Mathematics learning becomes deeper as students transcend from one level to another. Such an approach benefits all students, and has proven to be effective in the foundation years or when students are introduced to a new topic.
(ii) Embedding Heuristics in Problem Sums
The teaching of heuristics is essential for mathematical problem solving. As such, RVians are given opportunities to solve problems using a repertoire of heuristics progressively. With practice, students should be able to apply the heuristics that they have learnt to solve problems independently. Beyond personal practice, students will deepen their mastery through discussions and provide explanations of their reasoning.
(iii) Challenging students through Making Thinking Visible Routines (MTV)
To grow our students into stronger critical thinkers and to deepen their understanding, Math teachers will make use of thinking routines to guide students’ thinking and allow them to articulate and to present their thinking. Teachers also make use of intellectual standards of critical thinking such as Accuracy and Clarity to sharpen students’ responses and enable them to pick up the skills to present their solutions for solving problems.
Fostering Joy of Learning in Math is an important focus in the learning of Mathematics. Over and above the importance of learning of skills and concepts, it is equally important for students to find joy in the learning of Math. To engender this outcome, the Math department aspires in designing learning experiences that ignite excitement, encourage students to be inquisitive and to discover answers on their own.
(i) Integrated Learning Math Programme (Primary 3 Math)
The programme provides a platform to promote joy and passion for learning as the P3 students are given the autonomy to showcase their projects in different mediums. It enhances their leadership skills as students take lead and ownership to design their project. It promotes deep thinking as students do their own research to find the relevance and connection for their projects and make the learning of Mathematics more relatable and applicable to their everyday lives. The students explore how fractions can be used in different occupations and various aspects in their daily lives.
(ii) Modular Mathematics Programme (Primary 2)
The P2 Math Modular Programme seeks to bring joy of learning into the mathematics classrooms of our precious Primary 2 students. Believing strongly that “Math is Fun and Math is Everywhere”, the Math department designs lesson packages that enrich students’ learning of Math.
From the exploration of mathematical manipulatives to bringing Math out of the classroom to making application of Math in real-life situations, students will be given opportunities to enjoy, learn and use Math in interactive ways. During the three-period lesson, students are given different tasks and activities that stretch their thinking and creativity, enable them to work collaboratively as a team, allow them to make mathematical communication and connection, experience how positive attitudes and values can be displayed through problem solving and finding excitement in the learning of Math. At the end of the programme, we hope to evoke the passion of Math among our young RVians.
(iii) ICT-based Lessons
To promote self-directed and collaborative learning in Math with the help of ICT affordances, students are exposed to the use of Excel Spreadsheet, Google Sites, Games, Padlet and Kahoot! The ICT affordances help them to understand mathematical concepts through visualizations, simulations and representations. Assignment of resources in the MC Online portal also allows teachers to support students in learning with online resources. Through harnessing ICT affordances, students are given opportunities to explore, experiment and design.
iv) Activity-based lessons
Math teachers adopt this approach in which students learn by doing and applying. Teachers provide activities to engage students so that they can explore and learn mathematical concepts and skills, individually or collaboratively in groups. Teachers plan for students to use teaching aids like manipulatives or other resources. From concrete manipulatives and experiences, students are guided to uncover abstract mathematical concepts or results. During the activities, students apply what they have learnt and share their learning with one another collaboratively.
These lessons are also designed to create different types of learning experiences and cater to the diverse learning needs and styles of our students. It promotes a higher level of active participation and deeper mathematical discourse in our lessons.
(v) Marvell-ious Math Programme
To engage our students more and to instill greater joy of learning, math department teachers plan lessons that enable students to have inquiry-based and activity-based learning. Students participate in different activities that require them to investigate, make conclusion, use manipulatives to find answers, create artfacts and make presentation. There are also assignments that range from hands-on activities to interactive games and virtual manipulatives. Teachers also introduce online quizzes, brain teasers and fun puzzles for students to reinforce their learning. All these aim to help students to find the learning of Mathematics more relevant, engaging and enjoyable. The programme has been well-received by both teachers and students.
(vi) Math Week
This will be a yearly event that kicked off in 2019. Students of all levels participate in activities specially designed for their respective levels by the math department. These activities range from classroom activities to recess booths. They are given many opportunities to try out some hands-on activities and online games to integrate what they have learnt in their lessons to real life experiences. Math representatives are given opportunity to show their leadership skills as they take charge of the execution of the games during recess and assist teachers with the resources and showcasing of students’ work in class.
MATH CURRICULUM CUSTOMISATION
As not all students have the same starting points and learn at the same pace, in RV we tailor customized curriculum to different groups of students. For students who will need more time to achieve the same level of mastery compared to others, we have the LSM, pull out teaching, and programme for the high achieving groups. We also explore differentiated instruction by taking consideration into their readiness levels. For example, students with higher readiness can be given more challenging tasks to deepen their understanding while students with lower readiness can be given tasks with more scaffolding. By so doing, we hope our students are motivated in their learning of math and gain confidence at the different phase of their learning.
(A) Students with strong inclination towards Math
For these students, teachers seek to ignite their passion for learning by giving them tasks that are challenging that they are required to work in groups to facilitate the value of team work and also presentation skills.
Activities and task worksheets are designed across levels to stretch students with higher order thinking. Math Olympiad training for competent and interested students outside curriculum time has been planned for P3 and P4 students. Students are also selected to participate in various Olympiad competitions.
We also have the Mathematics Enrichment programme, which is conducted out of curriculum time for targeted for P4 and P5 selected students who have a deep passion for Mathematics, strong content knowledge in the subject and the willingness and resilience to solve mathematical problems. The overall main objective is to reinforce confidence in students to investigate and problem solve higher order questions, encouraging creativity and empowering learners to take pride in their work. It focuses on the learning process rather than the final solution. All these aim to strengthen their love for Mathematics.
The activities selected are in tangent to the school syllabus but also extends beyond it. It involves enrichment topics that enhances the challenging and enjoyable learning experience.
(B) Math Uplift Programme
In our effort to help these students, teachers have been deployed and resources allocated to enable these students to be placed in the pull-out classes (P3 to P6). The main purpose is to provide these students with more attention to help improve their learning and mastery of the basic content and skills. In addition to helping students close their learning gaps, the teachers also help to develop positive attitudes in learning Mathematics such as self-esteem, confidence and resilience.
Learning gaps that are aligned to learning outcomes (what we want the students to master) are identified after each assessment based on their weak areas. Teachers then re-teach the concepts and retest students and the results are monitored closely.
(C) Learning Support Programme (LSM)
The Learning Support for Mathematics (LSM) Programme is designed for students who need extra support in acquiring basic numeracy skills when they enter Primary 1. This support is given for 2 years. The class size is small and hence students received more individual attention from the teacher. The focus in LSM is on building good mathematical understanding and aims to build students’ confidence and positive beliefs about their ability to do Math. The students learn through varied activities such as role-playing, the use of manipulatives, visual drills and the playing of Mathematical games. They also receive help in the specific areas that they are weak in. Review tests are conducted at the end of each chapter and this is a form of feedback for parents, teachers and the students.
Assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. A balanced assessment system includes both summative and formative assessments which are valid and reliable. In RV, we use assessments not only to have feedback on our students’ learning but also to monitor their learning so that timely intervention can be carried out. We also use Formative assessments to provide information on how well students are progressing toward the desired learning goal(s). and informs students of their specific areas of strengths and weaknesses. A variety of modes of assessment, eg. performance tasks, diagnostic test, bite-sized tests, etc, are used in RV to enable teachers to have better feedback on their students’ learning and to implement follow-up actions to close gaps.
1) Performance tasks
The performance tasks assess students’ understanding and application of mathematical concepts in a non-threatening environment. Students either work individually, in pairs or groups to perform the tasks. Marks and rubrics are used to assess students’ performance in the task.
2) Bite-sized Assessments
This comes in the form of Topical test and Mini Test to test mastery and application of skills and concepts. Qualitative feedback is also given to the students and parents to highlight areas where students have done well, and also ways to improve students’ learning. A Math checklist (selected topics) from P1 to P5 is used by teachers to evaluate learning and then to narrow gaps after assessing the students. Students and their parents are given feedback about their progress.
3) Journal Writing
It reinforces the learning and provides students with opportunities to engage in reflection, question their own understanding, connect the abstract and the concrete, and apply the knowledge they have acquired to solve problems. Teachers make use of questions to enhance students’ ability to justify their solutions.