## Bar Model

The Bar Model is one of the most frequently used tool in the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach. Sometimes called Model Method, it is a very powerful visual problem-solving heuristic that serves as a foundation to algebraic thinking, and is used as early as first grade.

Bar Modeling uses rectangular bars to represent relative quantitative values, and was first developed by the Ministry of Education in Singapore in the 1980s to help students solve word problems. It is a very powerful visual problem-solving heuristic that serves as a foundation to algebraic thinking.

## Bar Model Related Posts

### Comparing Fractions using the Same Whole

A reader raised an interesting question in our previous post on Understanding the…

### Double Before-After Bar Model Problem

Sometimes one bar model is not enough. Here’s an interesting double bar model…

### Percentage Conversion

If you’re on social media lately, you might have seen this twitter post…

### One Bar Model for Two Different Types of Question

We recently came across two entirely different question types and solved them using…

We call this an advanced bar model problem. How would you solve this…

### Three Meanings of the Minus Sign

We often see bright kids in 5th or 6th grade getting the deer-in-the-headlights…

Our full-year Singapore math resources are aligned with major Singapore based textbooks, such as Math in Focus, Primary Mathematics etc. These resources, including lesson plans, videos, worksheets and more, are available for unlimited access (all grades) in our membership program.

## Using Bar Models

Bar Modeling, or sometimes called Model Method, uses rectangular bars to represent relative quantitative values, and was first developed by the Ministry of Education in Singapore in the 1980s to help students solve word problems. It is a very powerful visual problem-solving heuristic that serves as a foundation to algebraic thinking, and is used as early as first grade.

At lower elementary levels,

bar models help them visualize relationships between quantities that may belong to two different entities. For example, the problem below is usually taught by bar modeling in second grade.

There are 824 girls in the auditorium. There are 125 more girls than boys. How many boys are there?

Bar models are also used when solving multiplication, division or fraction of a set problems in upper elementary. Here, students are introduced to the concept of defining a “unit” in the bar models, which is a basic place-holder for some unknown quantity. The following example illustrates how the bar model can help students visualize a word problem.

Amy has some flowers. Bob has 3 times as many flowers as Amy. Together, they have 120 flowers. How many flowers does Amy have?

Bar models are also helpful when introducing algebra in middle school. Since they learn to visualize unknown “units” in bar models early on, the students are more comfortable dealing with symbols as temporary place-holders and can also more easily visualize word problems. For example, the same problem above may also appear as an algebra question in middle school.

## Free Worksheets

Join our mailing lists to get a set of unique Singapore math cheatsheets!