Marshall Cavendish Education

Renowned Author Brings Singapore Math to Life at King School

March 2024

Susan Resnick Math Lessons
Math classrooms in the Lower School and Middle School were buzzing with excitement – not just the students, but the teachers too! That's what happened at King School recently when Susan Resnick, the mastermind behind the popular "Math in Focus: Singapore Math" curriculum, came to visit.
King students in Grades 3 through 8 study Resnick’s book, which uses the Concrete Pictorial Abstract approach to build on a student’s existing knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in concrete and tangible ways.
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Resnick visited the Lower School in December and the Middle School in February to work with math teachers and refine their lesson approaches. The teachers were thrilled to have her in their classrooms.
“I first met her at a Jumpstart Your Singapore Math conference that she held in California in 2022,” said Jenna Du Puis, Middle School Math Coordinator. “I knew instantly that I wanted her to work with us on methodology since she has studied teaching techniques in Singapore but has also been a teacher and administrator in the United States. She knows how math should be taught but also understands education in the United States.
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Using Resnick’s book, teachers guide students on their progress throughout the school year as new mathematical concepts are introduced using concrete resources, including Dienes blocks, string, or physical shapes. When students are comfortable solving problems with these resources, they are given problems with pictures, often representations of the objects they were using. Finally, they are asked to solve problems with only the abstract numbers or symbols.
Resnick’s approach offers teachers a guide to help students understand the relationship between numbers and the real world. It fosters conceptual thinking necessary to prepare students for the rigorous upper school curriculum.
During her visit, teachers watched Resnick lead math lessons in the Lower and Middle Schools. Lower School Math Coordinator Jenny Bruno noted how the lessons echoed King’s inquiry-based approach to learning, focusing on concepts rather than a “right” or “wrong” way.
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“Each of the students was able to solve problems in a way that worked for them,” said Bruno. “She was more of a facilitator posing questions, continuously walking around the room, summarizing for the whole class, and then teaching them through feedback.”
After teaching classes, Resnick met with the teachers to discuss her approach, providing invaluable insights into the rationale behind specific instructional choices and topic sequencing.
“It's fascinating to understand exactly why she chose specific problems and in what order,” said Du Puis. “Knowing that thought process helps us to plan our classes more effectively.”
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