ENHANCED LEARNING IN MATHEMATICS THROUGH MUSIC, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NAFA
Music in Maths, a collaborative project between Pasir Ris Primary School (PRPS) and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), aims to promote higher engagement in mathematics learning through songs, simple dance steps and musical experiences. The project began in 2012, shortly after a Mathematics Department meeting to brainstorm strategies to make learning mathematics more enjoyable for the Pri 3 (P3) students.
Research has shown that music aids in relaxation and has a positive influence on learning. As children love music and singing, members of the Mathematics Department thought of weaving mathematical terms into songs for all P3 topics for teachers to use as tuning-in activities.
The collaborative effort with the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) involved the Mathematics teachers in writing lyrics for all P3 topics and the NAFA students refining the lyrics and adding melody, rhythm and structure in a creative and imaginative way to the lyrics. The collaboration went beyond the creative process. Every year in March, NAFA students conduct Music-Maths sessions with all P3 classes. A typical session introduces students to the various musical instruments used to produce the mathematics song before they sing it. It is hoped that students would find joy in learning mathematics and be more motivated to do well in the subject.
During the first phase of implementation in 2012-13, data from a survey conducted with the P3 students revealed that:
- 5% found the songs interesting
- 4% found the songs easy to learn
- 1% felt the songs aroused their interest in learning Mathematics
- 4% felt the songs helped them remember something about the Mathematics topics
Here are the comments by some teachers.
“The students were enthusiastically engaged. They danced and sang to the rhythm of the song … they learnt mathematics while singing.” – Elizabeth Choo & Ong Kian Kie.
“The lessons by NAFA really got them engaged in learning mathematics. Although motivated initially to participate in the music segment, without them realising it, the students were also grasping mathematical concepts in a fun and happy environment. I highly recommend this collaboration.” – Muhd Fariq
The positive feedback encouraged PRPS to sustain its partnership with NAFA for four years despite some challenges. Through this journey, PRPS learnt the importance of careful planning and management of the partnership. Clear communication, commitment and clarification of expectations are necessary to achieve the desired outcomes of the project. The team faced the initial challenges of arranging for regular, face to face conversations to communicate requests or clarifications. Differences in priorities and time schedules also meant that the NAFA students, constrained by their schedules, could not deliver requirements within the proposed time frame. Furthermore, the yearly change in batches of NAFA students made it challenging to move the project to the next, higher level.
These challenges notwithstanding, the shared beliefs and goals between PRPS and NAFA have helped to sustain this meaningful, symbiotic collaboration. PRPS is thankful to NAFA for its continual support all these years.
Numerelic App –
PRPS Maths Department collaborated with Temasek Polytechnic in 2015-2017 to develop a Maths Game application in Smartphones so that students can easily access and practise basic mathematical questions while on the go, hence making full use of ‘wait time’. Temasek Polytechnic provided the programming expertise while PRPS Maths Dept provided the content for the game. The objectives of the project are :
- To inject fun in learning of maths
- To reinforce maths concepts learnt
- To leverage Smartphone, a ready device to provide practices on maths
- To sharpen minds to think with speed and accuracy
The name of this online game is ‘Numerelic’. It is targeted at P4-6 students. In the game, there are 8 levels, each with 3 difficulty categories to choose from. A Player chooses ‘Easy’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Difficult’ and starts at Level 1. He chooses a character to represent him in the game. The Player appears on the first screen which shows him standing on a tile amongst a set of tiles with numbers on them. The Player’s aim is to get to the Exit in order to move to the next higher level.
In the process, the Player has to answer mathematics questions that pop up. For each question answered correctly, the Player earns some points. The tile that has the correct answer will disappear once selected as answer, creating a hole in the set of tiles. Player does not need to answer every question that pops up as he may wish to prevent a vital tile from disappearing. A missing tile would mean the path to get to the Exit will be a longer route and therefore is more challenging.
The more mathematics questions the Player answers, the higher his score is. A Player can use the points to ‘buy’ tiles to bridge gaps to make his path to subsequent Exits smoother. The Player wins a e-medal at the end of each level completed and after attempting all 8 levels in all 3 categories, the Player is greeted with a congratulatory message that he has won all 24 e-medals.
2012 – Showcase at MOE ExCEL FEST
2011 – The Maths Story – In Search of the Mathemagical Potion
2011 – Times Sticks
2009 – The 3-in-1 project
Maths Trail Blogs
Vacation Maths Blogs
Wildwest Stomp! ( Online Maths Game )
4 – Op Card Games
Citibank’s Ideas In Action Day was held at Nanhua Primary School on 24 Sept 04. The Maths Department and some P3A pupils showed off their creation ‘4-Op’ a card game to the public.
- To provide educational recreation activities
- To reinforce mathematical skills
- To sharpen pupils’ mental calculation and increase speed and agility
- To instil creativity and alertness among pupils.
This innovation is a set of playing cards
packed together in a box with a booklet explaining how to play more than 25
Maths games. There are 60 number cards ( numbered 1 to 12 ) and 15 power cards
representing 5 ‘Reverse’, 5 ‘Miss A Turn’ and 5 ‘WILD’. The cards are in 5 colours and have 5
different number shapes. For each colour and shape, there are 12 cards numbered
1 to 12. Many types of games with different rules can be played and they are
made to be fun, exciting and pupils have to be fast or they will lose. The team
designed the cards to be numbered up to 12 so that pupils will subtly learn up
to 12 times tables instead of 10.
Normal poker cards are numbered up to 10 and do not come with POWER
cards and hence have limitations. Our cards stretch pupils to think and work
fast mentally at a higher level.
In one game, pupils shout ‘ Freeze !’ when they win a round. Some of
the games designed are : Add+Add, Sum-Diff, Spider Solitaire, Albino, Number
Call, etc. With these attractive cards, pupils can also invent their own games.
In fact, many games are created by pupils.
These cards are also used in class by teachers to reinforce
number-bonds /multiplication / etc with pupils playing in pairs or in groups.
They are great for classroom teaching especially for the lower primary classes.
They replace the usual plain number cards produced commercially.
of 4-Op cards have been made available in classrooms and lesson plans are
designed to include the use of 4-Op in the teachings. P1 teachers
are using the cards extensively in the strategy known as SEED. The cards are
great for teaching number bonds, addition, multiplication and shapes and
colours. They can also be used for magic tricks. At school, pupils are playing 4-Op cards in class and during
recesses in the canteen. These
cards are placed in our Activity Corners in the classroom to allow pupils who
complete their work early to play with friends.