This Sunshine Math program for young students draws upon the latest thinking about mathematics, together with relevant research findings and theoretical developments from around the world about how children learn in mathematics. The program uses 76 printed books and 91 e-books and activities.
As teachers and parents realize, the kind of mathematics students study today is quite different
in many ways from the mathematics studied 20 years ago.
Today, mathematics is considered to be an ever-developing set of powerful ideas constructed by
human minds. The ideas comprise –
1) concepts about number, space, measurement, algebra, geometry, statistics, chance
2) connections among these concepts
3) math processes such as problem-solving, logical reasoning and communication of ideas
Sunshine Math is designed according to this more recent view of mathematics. You will find in the program that students are – introduced to and given many experiences in the important area of number helped to develop ideas about geometry, measurement and simple algebra, statistics and chance (since all these aspects of mathematics are now included in the mathematics curriculum for primary/elementary children in many countries) guided to see how the various concepts and operations are related encouraged to estimate (within a range), use logical reasoning, problem-solve and express their developing ideas In short, the emphasis in the program is on helping students to develop their thinking powers to construct understanding of and facility in the various dimensions of mathematics. This is evident in the area of number where the program will help students develop number sense, that is, an understanding of how numbers work, rather than have them primarily rote memorize rules and facts.
The ideas of mathematics are abstract – we cannot see them, including number – and they
cannot be slotted into students’ minds in the way that we can put a disk of information into
a computer. With guidance, students have to reconstruct the ideas for themselves.
This is best done through –
• engaging them in activities that are meaningful and require their active participation
• helping them link new ideas to ones they understand already
The more students feel they have control over their own learning, the more they enjoy it; and the more success they experience along the way, the more likely they are to continue learning.
The Sunshine Math program embeds the mathematics in meaningful contexts, includes lovely surprises in some of the learning activities and generally allows students to work at their own pace. The learning tasks themselves invite students’ active participation. The tasks are designed to give students interesting mathematics experiences so they can gradually understand and use the important ideas and processes of mathematics that they will need in their daily lives.
The teacher plays a crucial professional role in the Sunshine Math program by encouraging students to explore, develop, express and justify their growing mathematics ideas and processes. To support teachers, the program provides a range of suggestions for both learning activities and ways of working with students. With the approach used in the Sunshine Math program, you can create a learning climate in which students can feel safe to take risks and to communicate their views, no matter how tentative. Constructive listening by teacher and students is vital to such a classroom climate. Sunshine Math supports independent thinking and assists students in constructing for themselves the important ideas of mathematics.