Helios follows the Singapore Math curriculum, which is particularly suited to many gifted learners. When Singapore developed its national math curriculum, it sought out the best elements of math programs around the world. It consolidated these elements into a curriculum that helped its students achieve the highest rankings on international mathematics exams.
Singapore Math differs from many traditional math programs in several significant ways:
- Depth and acceleration Singapore Math is topic intensive, which is critical for gifted learners. The curriculum covers fewer topics per grade level than most traditional curricula, but it covers them in greater depth, which helps students develop mathematical thinking. At the same time, Singapore Math is an accelerated curriculum. Deceptively, in the early levels, students spend more time than in traditional programs investigating apparently “simple” concepts like addition. However, this additional time allows concepts to be investigated in deep, rich ways. This deep investigation provides students a foundation that leads to significantly more complexity and acceleration as students progress through the program.
- Communication as a vehicle for learning The curriculum emphasizes precise mathematical communication. The act of describing mathematical operations verbally and in writing can be complex for gifted learners, who frequently make intuitive leaps when solving problems. The process of communicating their work opens up new levels of understanding and prepares gifted learners to share their thinking with others.
- Visual learning Singapore Math is a highly visual program, with an emphasis on model-drawing to solve problems as an interim step to mental visualization. This benefits many visual-spatial gifted children.
- Mental math Mental math is embedded in the program, encouraging students to utilize and deepen their number sense as they do increasingly complex problems without a pencil and paper.
Singapore Math is a recommended program for gifted learners for these and other reasons. Read an interesting article from the journal “Understanding Our Gifted” which describes the program as “challenging and relevant curriculum for the gifted learner.”