Thursday, February 26

Parents' Concern

Hi Sunny

Please elaborate more on UTM.
Is it a more effective method as compared to other Heuristics?
Is model drawing or Guess and Check a waste of time?
Will the child be confused if he/she is taught a different method from schools?

Concerned parents

Hi Sunny,

Good Afternoon Sir,
As the name of your blog suggests, there is no better way to learn more about UTM than from the guru himself.

As compared to Model Drawing, UTM lacks the visual impact which enables a student to see Maths,so to speak.
In what way is UTM a more effective method than MD?
Could you help to illustrate with some examples?
Is UTM within MOE Maths syllabus?

Interested parents

From the desk of Sunny Tan ... ...

The Unit Transfer Method is a fundamentally sound approach with research based on Teacher Work Series publication. Unit Transfer Method uses ratio with tabulation to help child to effectively analyze and solve challenging mathematical problems. This simple, logical yet powerful problem-solving technique is an alternative to the model approach and the algebraic framework approach.

Reference to MOE forum replies “Different Approaches taught for Mathematical Techniques” dated 12th Feb 2007, Ms Ho Peng, Director, Curriculum Planning and Development.

“Other than the model drawing approach, pupils are also taught different problem solving methods. They are encouraged to try different approaches and have the flexibility to choose the method that works best for them in solving the problems’

“In the marking of PSLE mathematics, pupils are not restricted to the use of any one particular method. All mathematically correct solutions are acceptable”

In the replies above, the Ministry of Education will accept any mathematically correct method in the PSLE. In fact, the reply mentioned that pupils need a wider repertoire of approaches to work with more challenging problems.

The UTM is very effective in solving problems involving the Before and After Concept, which is one of the heuristics stipulated in the MOE curriculum.

MOE has recommended 11 problem solving heuristics in primary level. Every heuristics plays a role in problem solving. The common misconception in many parents is that many are trying to search for the “holy Grail” or the most “superior” problem solving methods for their child.

Many parents have always raised these concerns during my seminar, “Is guess and check or model drawing a waste of time?” To answer these concerns, we have to ask ourselves "What is heuristics?"

Heuristics are methods that helps in problem solving. Heuristics does not guarantee a solution.
When approaching the problem, the child first understands the problem, chooses the method and carry out the plan. If it doesn’t work, the method should be discarded and a new method should be choose to solve the problem. However, many pupils or even us will “stubbornly” continue to usie the initial method even it doesn’t work!

As mentioned, many parents are guilty of searching for the “Holy Grail” or the most “Superior” problem solving method. We all know in fact, they never or will never exist.

Different children have different learning style - right and left brain dominant learners.
The left brain learners are strong in logical and analytical thinking while the right brain learner seeks to determine the spatial/visual relationships of all the parts.
The question of which is more superior method is therefore very subjective. Therefore, we cannot answer on behalf of our child. What is important as parents, we should equip the child with different approaches so that they have the flexibility to choose the method that works best for them in solving the problems.

The fundamental concept of the model approach and UTM utilizes ratio. Model drawing is visual or UTM uses tabulation. The combination of Model Approach and Unit Transfer Method utilize the left and the right brain- an integrated "whole" brain approach to maximize the untapped potential of the child.

“Do you know Guess and Check can be solved just by using 3 steps?”
“Do you know there are other ways to draw model other than horizontal bar?
By changing the orientation of the model, the answers is staring in front of them!

These are some of the topics that will be covered in the Parents’ Seminar.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny,

Using 3 guess to get the answers using guess and check? How is it possible? Personally, I feel that guess and check is a waste of time!

Anonymous said...

Hi anon@1257

Using 3 steps for Guess and Check is a bold and gutsy statement.It is bound to attract lots of attention.

Do not be too quick to throw stones.Maybe Sunny has some hidden techniques which we are not aware of.

Like to show us how, Sunny

Too Good To Believe

Anonymous said...

By changing the orientation of the model, the answers is staring in front of them!

This is mouth-watering.Most of the times, we are staring cluelessly at the models.

A reversal of roles,Sunny, please show us.

PSLE Mother

Sunny Tan said...

Hi all,

Thank you for your interest. As this blog is for the Unit Transfer Method Publication, therefore we will not be discussing other heuristics like guess & check or model.

These topics will be discussed during the coming Parents' Seminar.



Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny

Do consider posting more information on GC and MD in this can reach out to a much bigger audience, as compared to a small seminar room.Don't you think so?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny

A seminar can only reach out to as many people as there are in a room.

The internet is a very much powerful media.

May we suggest that you harness this new technology so as to reach out to more people.

Please let us have some sneak preview on the effective way to draw Model.

Don't keep us waiting too long,lah

Excited Parents

Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny

Thank you for your interesting post on UTM vs MD.

You had emphasised that there is no one superior method and children are encouraged to learn both so as to enjoy the flexibilty of using them to solve problems.

However,the name of your blog suggests otherwise.From using UTM as the header, are you sending a subtle signal that it is a more superior method than MD.People may think that you are promoting UTM as the main thrust.

Going through your website, we realised that UTM is one of four modules.Perhaps the header of your blog should be changed to MathsHeuristics ---The painless way to A* in PSLE Maths.It reflects more closely what you are providing in your programme.By not restricting yourself to UTM, you are in a better position to engage readers more widely in PSLE Maths.

sheng tian

Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny

A few days ago, PM Lee spoke about the growing influence of the new media.

He noted the role that the Internet played last year in Malaysia's general election and the United States' presidential polls, and added that the medium had become a 'natural way to do things' for the young.

Yes, the internet can give greater exposure than a seminar in a room. Do consider posting some articles on GC and Model Drawing. It’ll certainly add more colours to this exciting blog.

sheng tian

Sunny Tan said...

Hi all,

Thank for all the interest. The Mastering Heuristics Series consist of 4 books as follows:

Series 1: Unit Transfer Approach
Series 2: Advanced Unit Transfer Method
Series 3: Model Approach to Problem Solving
Series 4: Heuristics Approach to Problem Solving

This blog is a channel for all my readers and parents to post thier questions in this publication. We will set up another blog for readers once the other publication is out. The seminar serves as a platform for parents and educators to discuss and share my latest finding in my research in problem solving heuristics.

I would like to thank everyone for their interest.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny,

When is your parents' seminar? How much is it?

Interested Parents

Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny,

Is all your publications available? I hear that your books are availble in US?

Sunny Tan said...


The parents' seminar will be held after mid year exam, the date is not confirmed yet. We will update the date in our website.

Singapore maths is highly sought after in US,Californa. We do recieved numerous orders for our publication in US as well as other Asian countries.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sunny

Please don't keep us waiting for too long.

As the seminar is about four months away, could you let us have a preview on the more effective way to draw models.June is pretty close to PSLE exam.

PSLE Parents

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