Math model drawing.
What’s your first reaction when you saw that phrase?
I believe many of us either love it or hate it. Love it as we see the beauty of using models to solve Math problem sums. Hate it because we don’t know how to use this tool as we have never learnt Math using model drawing. Parents of my age probably use Algebra to solve our children’s Math questions with ease, but we end up having difficulties explaining the solutions to them. Often, we also wonder what the most appropriate presentation is, to gain full marks for those questions.
What is model drawing? For those who are not familiar, this is a visual representation of a Math problem sum which is supposed to help the child comprehend and solve the question more easily.
When Ch started her primary education, I tried to recall what I learnt about model drawing back in the NIE days (NIE is the institute where I got my teaching certification). Initially, the problem sums were still manageable with the limited knowledge I had about model drawing, but come to Primary 3, I could not solve many of the questions. But when I checked around with other parents for solutions to those questions, I realise models DO help very much in aiding understanding. When I managed to draw a suitable model for the question Ch asks, she would then be able to figure out the solution fairly quickly. It was then that I started to be more serious in learning how to draw models to guide Ch.
I do not advocate tuition or enrichment for children unless they are really very weak in the subject, and need a power boost for a short period of time. So, instead of sending her off for tuition, I bought two practice books for Ch in the hope that she can pick up the strategies offered. She showed improvement after attempting most of the questions in the books.
I was also keeping a lookout for Math workshops for myself. My encounter with Neuromath Academy, one of the leading Math tuition centres in Singapore, was one by chance. A friend had signed up for their parents seminar but could not make it, so she kindly offered me the ticket. Mr Norman Tien, the founder of Neuromath, spoke with confidence and humour for the 2-hour seminar. What got me very interested was how he capitalised on the learning styles of the students and created a brain-based learning curriculum to impart his Math strategies. That part resonated with my own philosophy and belief in learning and teaching.
And so, I was sold. At the end of that session, I signed myself up for another morning “date” with Mr Norman Tien at the Advanced Model Drawing Workshop For Parents.
This is one set of notes I won’t throw away for a long time!
The turn-out looked impressive for a Saturday morning class, with all the parents eager to learn from Norman Tien. The seminar was structured but intense as there were 11 Math problem sums for us to work on! Norman believe that as parents, we need to work on the questions in order to have a first-hand experience of what our children possibly feel when they are stuck at one. And by knowing our children’s experience, we can better help them. Wise words indeed.
The 11 questions selected for the seminar are typical PSLE questions or those that are commonly tested and arranged according to their difficulty level. Truth be told, I was stuck after question 4.
For each question, Norman emphasised the key words to focus on and guided us through the secret techniques involved with a step-by-step solution. Everything just seemed so clear after his detailed explanation!
Although I am not an expert at model drawing yet, I know that I am better equipped to help Ch with her problem sums now. The workshop has definitely deepened my understanding of this mathematical tool.
Neuromath Academy periodically organises such workshops and seminars to equip parents with handy skills to help our children. Some of these are free too! Do look out for updates on theirFacebook page.
What resources do you tap on to help your child solve problem sums using model drawing?