Number bonds? I was 3 credits short of a math minor, and this is so confusing. Is it me, or do modern attempts to simplify math often make it way more complicated that it actually is?

This is singapore math, which is a bit confusing at first but I love it! This is my second year tutoring kids from this school. Number bonds is just another name for number families (9+3=12, 3+9=12, 12-3=9, 12-9=3). In singapore math, 12 is the whole number and 3 and 9 are the parts. Once you have that figured out, it's easy to solve problems such as: ?-5=16 I've had fifth graders when I taught at public school one year who could NOT figure that out. Using singapore method it makes it easy for the kids to know how to solve it and why.

It just feels like a jargon minefield from the outside. I freely admit to knowing next to nothing about teaching math below the high school/college/adult level. I'm all for anything to improve numeracy. My seniors freak out if they can't use calculators for simple calculations, like dividing an even number by two (on our last test, density problem).

I'm not so thrilled with calling 12 a "whole number", as distinct from 9 and 3 as "parts", since they're all whole numbers. Teaching terminology that's going to need to be unlearned tends to end badly eventually.

Hmmm.... You know, I didn't think about that... But I wonder how Singapore math in upper grades handle that terminology then...

I don't think they are calling 12 a whole number, rather that that is the "whole" answer or the biggest part. I have used part/part/whole with my first graders in past years and I never said that whole was a whole number and parts were just part numbers. The parts are just smaller parts in finding the "whole" answer.

Right, that's what I'm sure Singapore meant... but TG does bring up a good point about confusing kids later on... I haven't tutored higher than 4th in Singapore so I do not know for sure how it's handled.

That's fine, TG. Where would we be without you. I do need to say, though, that of all the math programs I've used, I really do prefer Singapore Math. I love it's mental math component and the way it addresses concepts. I also like it's focus on model drawings to solve word problems.

We use enVision Math, and from what I've seen of Singapore math, the drawings are similar. We call them "bar diagrams" and they are really powerful tools when the kids learn how to use them. They can really see what operation is needed to solve the problem, instead of trying to rely on key words that can often trip them up when they get to more complex problems.