Archive | July, 2015

Training Program for Annual Mathlympics 2015

22 Jul

P5 Fusion Math: (M) athlympics Training     *Change of schedule!

3 days: 5 Aug (Wed), 10 Aug (Mon*), 12 Aug (Wed)       *public holiday

Time: 7.15 pm to 9.15 pm

Fee: $180

Scope: Number Theory, Algebra, Combinatorics (from past year questions of Annual Mathlympics)

Level: Primary 5

We welcome Primary 4 students to join this training too.

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Details of 2015 Annual Mathlympics competition

NMOS Special Round Training 2015 starts on 18 July

13 Jul

 The top scorers of the Preliminary Round will be invited to sit for a written paper in the Special Round at NUS High School of Mathematics and Science on 28th July 2015 (Tuesday). The duration of the paper is 1h 30min and it consists of 20 questions (4 marks each for Q1-10, 5 marks each for Q11-20).

Some instructions useful to candidates of the Special Round:

1. Write your answers in the answer sheet provided and shade the appropriate bubbles below your answers.

2. No steps are needed to justify your answers.

3. No marks will be deducted for wrong answers.

4. Unanswered questions will not get any marks.

5. No calculators or mathematical instruments are allowed.


Math Arena will be conducting NMOS Special Round Training for pupils in the coming week.298012_133585680077588_1435619466_n

Venue: Math Arena

(Tampines Street 45, Block 488B #B1-147, Singapore 521488) .

Bus 28 stops at Blk 489B.

Buses 28, 293 at Blk 489A.

Bus 29 stops at Dunman Secondary.

Date: 18 Jul (Sat), 19 Jul (Sun), 24 Jul (Fri), 25 Jul (Sat)

18 Jul (Sat)  9: 15 am – 11: 15 am

19 Jul (Sun)  10: 15 am – 12: 15 pm

24 Jul (Fri)  6: 45 pm – 8: 45 pm

25 Jul (Sat)  9: 15 am – 11: 15 am

Course Fee: $300

This course will mainly cover selected high-order thinking skill questions from the following topics:

1. Number Theory, Counting and Divisibility

2. Rate and Speed

3. Geometry

4. Fraction, Percentage and Ratio

Our Opening Hours (School Term):

Monday to Friday 3.30 pm to 9.00 pm

Saturdays 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

Sundays 9.30 am to 1.30 pm

Closed on Public Holidays

Should you have any enquiry regarding time schedule or course registration, please feel free to call to speak to Lilian or Craigton at 6783 3218, 6781 9325 or 8121 6628, or simply email to us at

2014 NMOS Statistics (nationwide):

Gold – 76

Silver – 354

Bronze – 650

Honourable Mention – 967

COP – 3063

Total – 5110

Invited into Special Round – 369 (7.2%); Gold in Special Round – 76 (20.6%)

Freed from Singapore “Bar Model” Math – Part 1

8 Jul

singa-mathI am going to say from the start, Math Arena is not a true-blue fan of the beloved “bar models” for solving word problems….this particular way of solving math problems is strongly associated with the Singapore Math method. Just not my cup of tea.

I am inspired to write this article as I was only slightly surprised and mostly amused when recently, I taught “pre-algebraic” methods to our new students and heard them shout with joy, “I am freed from drawing models!”

This scene is actually not new and has been transformational to many pupils. It is not just about grade improvement, even though that is the end goal. Quite often, I encounter children burdened with using “bar models”. They were tired of drawing intricate “bar models” for complex math problems and found themselves “boxed in.” I feel their pain. If you don’t, you should try it!

This is not to say “bar models” does not have its place. I find it a great tool to explain concepts in “Fraction-Ratio-Percentage” math problems. These concepts, being already well drilled in our primary schools, means that I do not need to spend too much time discussing them. Instead, I will take more time to show pupils how to represent the key concepts using “bar models” as well as representing the same concepts with numbers and units.

After painstakingly showing them alternative approaches, pupils tend to naturally lean towards the manipulation of the pre-algebraic method as it creates both ease and speed of solving more complex problems. Difficult problems begin to appear to be easier to comprehend, as multiple steps of simple manipulations. math-simpleMy earlier indication of issues with Singapore Bar Models was when I used to teach it from 2003 to 2009. My P6 pupils did exceptionally well… they were near perfect in their prelims and tests and did correspondingly well in their PSLE. They got into the schools of their choice. But in secondary one, I received early reports that they were failing math! I was shocked! These were my brilliant pupils! I suspect they were too adept at using “bar models” to solve complex problems hence the move to algebra in secondary school became difficult. They were masters of using a simple tool but sadly not the right tool for the job!