How to Use the CPA Approach to Help Kids Learn Math Better

Did you know that using the CPA approach can help kids learn Math better and faster?

I first heard about the CPA approach when I was doing my research about Seriously Addictive Mathematics, and it was definitely an eye-opener.

My close friends would know how much I love learning new things. And as a mom, I want Zeeka to also have the same love of learning as I do.

Now that she’s in school, one of my priorities is for her to enjoy learning, especially Math. But because math is an abstract subject, it can get difficult for kids like her to understand the concepts behind it. I’m lucky though that ever since Zeeka was a little, she loved counting more than singing her ABCs.

To make mathematical concepts more concrete, the Singapore Ministry of Education devised a learning program that uses the CPA approach. They then applied it to what we now know as Singapore Math for kids. I have been noticing a lot of improvement from Zeeka, so I decided to share with you what the CPA approach is (based on my research).

CPA Approach Explained

Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach (CPA) was a concept derived from American Psychologist Jerome Bruner.

It is based on a theory of instructions proposed by Bruner in his book, Towards a Theory of Instruction. The idea comes from enactive, iconic, and symbolic modes of representations, and was later on adopted by the Singapore Ministry of Education as its key instructional strategy.

Bruner believed that students learn best by doing. In this approach, students learn by using manipulatives to learn mathematical concepts and skills. Students get the chance to explore, discuss, and understand the problem first hand. Instructors, on the other hand, facilitate and provide structure and feedback to students and increase the depth of understanding for the students.

How Singapore Math for Kids Use the CPA Approach

The approach has three stages: (https://mathsnoproblem.com/en/the-maths/teaching-methods/concrete-pictorial-abstract/)

 

  • Concrete Stage – This stage lets students manipulate concrete objects to model problems. Unlike traditional processes, the CPA approach brings the concept to life and allows students to handle and experience the objects and make sense of the problem at hand.

 

Credits to www.mathsnoproblem.com

 

 

  • Pictorial Stage -This refers to the seeing stage, where images are used to represent objects to solve a math problem. It lets the students make a mental connection between the concrete object and the models that represent the problem.

 

 

  • Abstract/ Symbolic Stage – This stage lets the students connect the previous stages to the abstract symbols to model the problem. It also involves the teacher introducing abstract concepts using numbers and symbols.

 

 

Using this process ensures that the child gets a deeper understanding of how problem-solving works. It also helps children create powerful mental connections and provides them with a structured way to learn concepts.

Most importantly, kids also get to learn at their own pace. With enough support from certified trainers, students get a fun and effective way to learn Math.

That’s what makes Singapore Math for kids awesome.

 

How to Use the CPA Approach at Home

So how can we parents use the CPA approach to prepare our kids for learning Math?

I went to Pinterest to look for simple, easy-to-do learning games we can play with our kids. And here are some we can use the materials we already have at home.

 

 

  • Lego Blocks

 

Lego blocks have huge intrinsic educational and creative value. But more than that, children can also build their spatial and proportional awareness through these toys.

They also help increase your kid’s gross and fine motor skills. And in advance situations, high school and college students can also use advanced Lego kits for robotics, computer programming, modeling, and more.

So how can you use blocks to introduce counting to your preschooler?

Draw numerals and dots on Lego Duplo blocks and help kids recognize numbers. You can even use the blocks as a measuring tool.

For more Lego ideas, you can check out this post from TheImaginationTree.com.

 

 

  • Playdough

 

Playdough is soft, fun, and can be changed into whatever shape we want. And this makes it an awesome toy/tool to use for teaching our kids math.

You can form it and shape it to numbers and dots.

You can hide small toys in them and do a mini-treasure hunt while counting how many they got.

You can also cut it into and use it to demonstrate fractions for older kids to understand.  

Watch this video to see ten more ways you can use playdough to learn math from DeniseGaskins.com.

  • Popsicle sticks

Popsicle sticks are a creative way to help kids identify numbers.

All you need are 20 popsicle sticks and a few colored markers. Number each stick from 1 to 10 in bold, black letters. Then make designs on the remaining sticks with corresponding numbers using different shapes and colors.

Once done, you can ask your child to match the sticks with the corresponding numbers, and even ask about the different shapes and colors on the sticks.

Texture Sequencing Sticks

Be creative! Use envelopes or glasses to count, or fruit loops and other items to create different patterns. You can also add in symbols to create simple equations for older kids.

Your imagination is your limit!

 

If you want to learn more about CPA approach and Singapore Math for kids, you can check out the nearest  Seriously Addictive Mathematics Philippines center near you.

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Hope you like this article about the CPA approach! Have you ever heard of this? What do you think of it?

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