Singapore Math Workshop at Columbia University Teachers College 2016

We just came back to Boston from New York City! After a very successful session last year, we are privileged to be invited back to Columbia University Teachers College to present a Singapore Math Workshop to teacher residents. This workshop is part of TR@TC, or Teaching Residents at Teachers College, a federal-funded 18-month graduate level program designed to recruit and prepare secondary-level teachers to teach in high-need New York City schools.

Singapore Math Workshop Columbia University Teachers College TR@TC 2016
Singapore Math Workshop Columbia University Teachers College TR@TC 2016

Focusing on Singapore Strategies, we had a great evening discussing topics such as ways to better support students, the importance of striking a balance between conceptual understanding and procedural fluency, and the role of problem solving in our day to day classrooms.

I was amazed by the enthusiasm of the teacher residents throughout the workshop. We even decided to skip our break so we could have more “math time”! While discussing on the role of problem solving, we took this from Math in Focus Workbook 5A Pg 160 as our lead question.

Mimi’s market sold 24 heads of lettuce one morning. That afternoon 2/7 of the remaining heads of lettuce were sold. The number of heads left was now 1/2 of the number the market had at the beginning of the day. How many heads of lettuce were there at the beginning of the day?

This question is tricky for most kids, primarily because they do not know where to start.

This was how we started looking at this problem:

  • Morning: 24 heads of lettuce were sold
  • Afternoon: 2/7 of the remaining heads of lettuce were sold
  • What is left now: 1/2 of what the market had at the beginning of day.

For this example, we use bar modeling to provide a pictorial connection before attempting to solve the problem. Below is a video of the solution I presented during the workshop.

If you’ve worked on this question in your class, what challenges did your students have? Please share with us in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!

Related Resources

For more related resources, please refer to our Bar Models page.

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