All about Helping Singapore Kids with Math

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All about Helping Singapore Kids with Math

Postby ezyKC » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:53 pm

I first posted this under the "Happenings" Section of this forum then i realised this would be a better place to post this.

To cut this short i just hope that this would help some of the SG Primary kids to better understand Math at their level.

I will talk about the "Transfer" concepts for today. Depending on the response, i will post more stuff about other important concepts which i feel will help the kids to better understand math problems and thus appreciate math as much as i did when i at their age.

These "transfers/sharing" concepts are introduced as early as P2 in some schools as for the rest probably in P3.

The reason why I call it sharing because exams question are usually between two person or two items. Basically A/B pass to B/A resulted in something, then A/B pass to B/A something happened again. Every action has a consequence, the question is truly what actually happened?

First of all there are two things you need to take note in primary math – Total (altogether) and Difference (more than/ less than).

There are also two things you need to take note for transfers/sharing,

1) Total remains the same

If u observe carefully, the exchanges are only between the two person, there is no third party involved. So if you consider the two person as an entity, there is a no flow into or out of the entity. There is only flow within the entity itself. Therefore there is no change to the total itself.

2) Difference Changes

Let say that A has more than B at first. If A pass some to B, A might not have more than B in the end, it depends on how much A pass to B.

Let’s talk about how the difference changes. There are different scenarios which lead to different results, different "differences".

For example, if A has more than B, I say A has something “extra” compared to B. You can illustrate this clearly to your kid with aid of a comparison model. In my opinion, simple model drawings are best to illustrate all the different scenarios clearly for the kids. But let me remind you model drawing are never about the end product, it is always about the process. If you show your kids the end product of your model, especially those in the answer keys, few will understand. However if you draw it out step by step for your kid while explaining to them, you will be amazed at how fast they can grasp the concepts. Model drawing is able to portray a child’s chain of thoughts while they are attempting to solve the problem. Therefore you can also tell whether your kid truly understands the problem or not, what went wrong along the way, through model drawings.

These are some of the concepts that your kids should have with them.

Case 1
If A has more than B, A gives half of the extra to B, they become equal.

Case 2
If A has more than B, A gives less than half of extra to B, A will still have more than B.

Case 3
If A has more than B, A gives more than half of the extra to B, A will have less than B.

Case 4
If A has more than B, B gives to A, A will even more than B in the end.

Note: Case 1 and Case 4 are more common in exams.

It very hard to explain everything in words there are actually a lot more that meets the eye when it comes to transfers but I will just keep it to 4 cases first.

These might help in illustrating the 4 cases.



So let’s talk about Case 1 first.

For example, If A has 40 more than B how much must A give to B so that they have equal amount? Ans: 20

Now look at in another manner, which is more commonly used in exam questions, if A gives to B 50, they become equal. They are just trying to tell you that A has, 50 x 2, 100 more than B. (The difference between A and B is 100)

You should instil this in your kid, whenever they see this kind of sentence structure “if A gives B x amount then they become equal”, they should just register in their heads that A has more than B, 2x more. This concept will come in handy from time to time as you often find these sentences in many different questions even if it is not typical transfer questions.

Examples of a typical transfer question:


Examples of other questions which involve transfer concepts:



Examples of questions which requires "Total" concept:

Tiffany and Sally had a total of 1386 candies. When Tiffany gave Sally 224 candies, Sally had 5 times as many candies as Tiffany. How many candies did Sally have at first?

Jayden has some $2, $5 and $10 notes. The number of $2 notes is 1/4 of the total number of notes. The ratio of the $5 notes to the total number of $2 and $10 notes is 2 :5. Given that there are 18 more $10 notes than $2 notes, how much money does Jayden have in all?

The ratio of the number of beads John had to the number of beads Sally had was 3 : 7 at first. After Sally had given some beads to John, Sally had 76 beads less than John. The ratio of John's number of beads to Sally's number of beads became 3 : 2. How many beads did Sally give to John?

The solutions are here:

These concepts are just few of those that they would have to master under the topic "Whole Number". Then you still have Fraction-Ratio-Percentage (FRP), Geometry, Measurements etc. But mastering these concepts is one step towards mastering Primary School Math. So if your child still do not have these with them, you can help them today.

Let me know if this helps. Also if your kids ever encounter problems solving complicated problems, you can drop me a mail with their attempted solutions to the problems and i will try my best to identify which concept he or she lacks and i will let you know about some of the methods which you can use to help them understand. Contact me at

You can also post your child's questions and solutions here so we can all learn from each other's mistakes.

Btw, this is free for all with no strings attached.
Just a tutor, sincere in helping.

Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

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