Mathematics Curriculum- Mathematical Problem Solving

TLLM- Math-SPAR Programme


Target component in Math Framework:

Processes - Thinking Skills and Heuristics

Background of Math-SPAR Programme

· A MLS project after Math HOD has attended MLS

· Introduced to Math committee and 3 teachers started an AR project in 2008

· AR project team: RAPID shared the SPAR project with all teachers during Learning Festival in Nov 2008

· Implemented for Primary 1 to Primary 6 pupils in 2009, 2010

According to Newman's error analysis, one of the hurdles that pupils may have difficulty in problem solving is following through on procedures i.e. Process Skills. In a nutshell, pupils must be equipped with the knowledge of strategies or heuristics to overcome this difficulty.






o Pupils will learn different heuristics and model drawing
o Pupils will be able to apply the appropriate heuristics to non-routine process problems
o Pupils will develop an awareness of their own metacognitive abilities
o Pupils will acquire proficiencies in mathematical skills and processes

Model Method

The use of 'model method' provides pupils with a means to handle information, deal with complexity and, at the same time, communicate their thinking through the use of visuals which they can manipulate.



Framework for Problem Solving

Poi Ching School SPAR-Math

Framework for Problem Solving


Primary 1

Primary 2 to 6

A Table showing the outline of SPAR worksheets

Sample SPAR worksheets involving the heuristics of 'Make a List', 'Guess and check', 'Make a Table' and 'Draw a Diagram'.

'Make a List' strategy

'Guess and check' strategy

'Make a Table' strategy

'Draw a Diagram' strategy


Other than teachers helping pupils to develop mathematical proficiency, parents can also help pupils to build a strong mathematics proficiency through P3 to P6 instructional programmes. Parents can understand the constituents of mathematical proficiency so as to help their children better.

Pictures of a parent workshop on problem solving conducted by Dr Yeap Ban Har in Poi Ching School

P1060402.JPG parent_workshop_pic_2.jpg

P1 and P2 pupils learn the basic skills which include basic problem solving in their foundation years.
"Mathematical problem solving is central to mathematics learning." (Primary Mathematics Syllabus, p.6)

P3 to P6 pupils are exposed to more challenging problems "... including nonn-routine, open-ended and real-world problems." (Primary Mathematics Syllabus, p.6)

Emphasis on Conceptual Understanding
"Although students should become competent in the various mathematical skills, over-emphasing procedural skills without understanding the underlying mathematical principles should be avoided."
(Primary Mathematics Syllabus, p.7)

Key Compentencies
"Mathematics is an excellent vehicle for the development and improvement of a person's intellectual competence." (Primary Mathematics Syllabus, p.8)