We often talk about Singapore Math as one, coherent math curriculum, however, the truth is that teachers, parents and students have a few options to choose from. The Singapore Math textbooks are based on different Singaporean curricula and they are adapted to math teaching standards in different countries and states. Check what are the most popular Singapore Math textbooks and what are the main differences between these programs.
Singapore Math textbooks available in US
There are two types of Singapore Math textbooks available on the US market: Primary Mathematics and Math in Focus. Some bookstores also offer “Maths – No Problem!” series, however, this book was designed for UK students, in accordance with the national curriculum in the United Kingdom and therefore it will not be in line with the US Common Core State Standards. Apart from the two main series, the teachers can also buy Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics for K1-2 and Dimensions Math for Grades 7 and above. These books were developed by the same company, which publishes Primary Mathematics and are designed as a continuation of the math curriculum.
Primary Mathematics was the first Singapore Math textbook available in the United States. The first edition was published in 1998 by Singapore Math Inc. and it was a literal translation of Primary Mathematics textbook used in Singapore as the official national curriculum. The early editions of Primary Mathematics were a bit difficult to use for American students, because they contained Singaporean names with British English spelling and were based on the Singaporean metric system. With the Singapore Math method gaining more popularity, there was also a growing need for a textbook, which would better reflect the US culture. The Primary Mathematics textbook was revised and the first US edition, which was no longer just a literal translation of Singaporean textbook, was published in 2003. Standards Edition of Primary Mathematics was published for the first time in 2008. The newest edition published in 2014 is consistent with the Common Core State Standards.
Math in Focus
Apart from the official curriculum, there are also several other math programs, which are applied in different Singaporean schools. One of such programs is based on a textbook called My Pals are Here Maths. This textbook was created in order to enhance creativity in Singaporean students, but it continues to deliver good results when it comes to the high position of Singaporean students in international math rankings. The American version of the book was first published in 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and it contains a lot of new material not included in My Pals are Here Maths, which can be seen as an advantage or as a downside of this textbook. The newest version of the book is Math in Focus: Singapore Math published in 2014. Math in Focus program contains many additional books and materials, which can be used to practice math during classes or after school.
Both curricula have their weak and strong sides, but whichever option you decide on, remember to buy Singapore Math books from official providers, in order to receive high quality materials and professional training for teachers.
Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.