Developing a strong foundation in Mathematics during MYP

International Baccalaureate (IB) program is designed to focus on not only student’s academic development but overall personal development. It challenges students to excel in their studies by helping them make practical connections between their coursework and real world. According to the foundation, “the International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through inter-cultural understanding and respect.”

The IB Middle Years Programme or MYP is for students aged 11 to 16 and is followed by most international schools in Singapore. At Eduinfinite, we have been dealing with students with various learning styles and have expertise in guiding students following MYP curriculum at schools.

The IB curriculum during these middle-years focus on a large no of maths related topics. IB foundation dictates that the framework be followed, not the curriculum. Hence, the actual curriculum does vary between schools.

For students to develop an in-depth knowledge of topics, we recommend IB MYP students follow some best practices. We understand that everyone has a different style of studying and there is no right or wrong way, but following some basic principles helps in building a strong mathematical foundation.

  1. Review previous topic before starting a new one: Math is cumulative. What that means is; every new topic is built on the knowledge gained in the previous topic. Before you start a new topic, make sure you have mastered the previous topics related to this new one. If it is not clear, check with teachers on what are the prerequisites of a topic.
  2. Get your doubts cleared: Sometimes we do not understand a particular concept and decide to memorize it and move on with the next concept. You should avoid doing this because it is harmful in long run. Math concepts are inter-related and is important to have clear understanding of concepts. Check with your teacher and ask him/ her to clear your doubts. Areas like Algebra, Trigonometry, Probability are fundamental and are required at every stage; hence, we need to have a strong foundation in these areas.
  3. Practice, practice and practice: While this may sound cliche, you cannot understand Math by looking at teacher solve the problem. You will need to get involved by solving problems of different kinds. You will need to have a regular study schedule and practice problems assigned by our teachers. At Eduinfinite take great care in preparing these papers to ensure that questions are of different variety and do not get repetitive and boring for the students. The different types of questions we cover are:
    • Problems requiring application of skills to familiar situations
    • Problems requiring application of skills to unfamiliar situations
    • Problems requiring you to extend the skills or theory you know before applying them to an unfamiliar situation.
  4. Understand the principles: Math is more than just memorizing the formulae. While there is no denying that there is some amount of memorization required; what is more important is to know when and how to use these formulae. Understand the principle behind the formula, restrictions and limitations of using the same. For eg. To find the roots of a quadratic equation using the quadratic formula, you will need to write the equation in standard ax2 + bx + c = 0 form. Unless you know this and apply it, memorizing the formula is of no use.
  5. Learn to work by the clock: You have limited time during exams and it is important to practice in a timed manner so you can finish the paper. While every topic in the beginning requires more time since you are not familiar with the concept; ensure you time your practice problems as and when you move ahead in the topic.
  6. Teach someone the concepts: Teaching someone is the best way to know how well you have understood the topic. Explain a concept to your friend as encourage him/ her to ask questions. If you can find someone who does not know the topic to listen to you; it’s even better. Breaking concepts into smaller chunks will increase your understanding and help you to identify the areas where you still need to brush up.

Some of the important topics that we recommend students master in their middle grades are:

  • Numbers: Developing a strong foundation with numbers is a must for doing arithmetic operations and serves well in long run. This is helpful in advance studies in other fields as well.
  • Algebra: Algebra is not only the building block for advanced math, it is as much used in real life when we need distances, figuring finances, comparing offers from service providers etc.
  • Ratio, proportion, interest rate and percentage: Ratios tell us the relative size of two or more values. Whether you are shopping or cooking; we use ratio, proportions, rates and percentages all without realizing. Having a solid base of these concepts is essential for every student.
  • Geometry: Shapes and designs are everywhere. Angles, lines, curves are present in every single space, even on this page. Right from infancy, humans start recognizing shapes and are attracted to them. We all start with 2-D and move on to 3-D figures. Geometry is important for us to understand the spatial relationships. It also stimulates both sides of the brain: the creative side and the logical side. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of this topic in student’s life. At Eduinfinite, we take great care to introduce the concept in various ways for students to relate to the concept and master it.
  • Trigonometry: This is one concept that is used in every job people do. Whether it is driving car or flying plane or playing tennis / football or even playing music or video games; trigonometry is everywhere. Trigonometry means calculations with triangles (that’s where the term “tri” comes from). It is the study of lengths, heights and angles of different types of triangles. Make sure you have your strong understanding of this topic robust before you move on to next one.

Remember that you are in control of the help you get. Teachers are there to motivate you, give you hints as you need them and show you how to do different problems. They are there to help you figure out how to learn math by yourself.

Call EDUINFINITE at +65 8498 2405 and ask us how we can help you build a strong foundation.

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