Maths

Greater focus on applying maths skills and concepts

Nanyang Junior College.
Nanyang Junior College. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Mathematics has been refreshed to help students focus more on applying its concepts and skills.

In H1 Maths, for instance, there is more emphasis on how to use what they learn in business and social science contexts - from using information to make business decisions, to analysing population growth.

For H2 Maths, which prepares students for science courses in university, more exercises that relate to the study of physics have been weaved in. Students can use concepts of free fall and collisions to learn about vectors. Complex numbers and calculus could be applied to electrical circuits, while probability and sampling distributions may be linked with their use in banking and insurance.

Madam Loo Choy Fung, head of Nanyang Junior College's maths department, said that about 10 per cent of content for H2 Maths has been cut to make room for teachers to discuss real-world applications in class.

REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS

Now, we can have more of such exercises, so that maths is less of a dry subject. It is important for students to see theories applied in different contexts.

MADAM LOO CHOY FUNG, head of the maths department at Nanyang Junior College, which conducts workshops for students to experiment with collecting and making sense of data from places such as the Singapore Department of Statistics.

Her school already conducts workshops for students to experiment with collecting and making sense of data from sites such as the Singapore Department of Statistics. "Now, we can have more of such exercises, so that maths is less of a dry subject," she said. "It is important for students to see theories applied in different contexts."

Further Maths is also making a return. The H2 subject being offered this year is an updated version of the pre-2006 Further Maths, which was discontinued when the A-level curriculum was revamped a decade ago.

The new subject, which must be taken along with H2 Maths, targets students capable of handling advanced mathematical concepts, such as conics and discrete maths.

Madam Loo said that introducing H2 Further Maths is meant to boost students' interest in undergraduate disciplines that rely heavily on the subject, such as the sciences and engineering.

Amelia Teng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2016, with the headline 'Greater focus on applying maths skills and concepts'. Print Edition | Subscribe