What Is Japanese Math?

Japanese Math has been at the forefront of mathematical education for students in grades 1 to 12. In Japan, educators believe learning math is no different from learning basic social skills — both are necessary for everyday life.

Life is constantly presenting us with problems that don’t have clear answers, which is why we’ve harnessed Japan’s historically successful teaching methods to create a program that teaches students to calculate, measure, draw and apply logic to reach solutions. 

Why Japanese Math?

We often hear "Why do I have to study math?". Many mathematical concepts taught at school may not seem to have practical applications for the vast majority of students. Conventionally, math is taught as a fact, name, notation, or usage. Japanese math teaches realistic mathematics that enables students to make sense of formal math. When the content in the problem is experientially real to the students, the question is no longer "why do I do it" but "how should I do it". We visualize what the final outcome would look like and figure out what knowledge and tools are required to reach the outcome. 

Instructional Design

Japanese teaching focuses on teaching for conceptual understanding. Japanese math is based on problem-solving and teaches how to invent solutions. Teachers provide a context for the lesson so that what follows has greater meaning than merely getting the correct answer on a worksheet. 
Let's take an example of fractions. Once students master four basic operations, the concepts become abstract. When third graders see fractions, some of them can no longer connect the stacked numbers to division. They use division to share food, for instance, but cannot connect the idea and math.
The second graders at JMA learn Egyptian fractions to share bread. Egyptian fractions are fractions with numerators 1. Can 5 people share 2 loaves of bread equally? What is the most efficient and fairest way to slice the loaves? How can you cut 2 loaves into 2/5 pieces fairly?
First, divide each loaf into 3 parts. Each person will have 1/3 of a loaf, and1/3 of a loaf remains. Then, the remaining1/3 is divided into 5 parts. Each person will have1/3 and 1/5 of 1/3 of a loaf. After this experiment, our second graders start using fractions to share just about everything!  

You don't need to be a 6th grade genius to solve GMAT problems without algebra. Your 6th grader will be able to independently solve the problems like these below. 

Teamwork problem

A, B and C are working on a project together. A can complete the project in 12 days. B can complete the project in 24 days.  When A, B and C worked together, it took 4 days to complete it. How many days would it take C to complete the project alone?

Trains problem

Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 pm. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 pm. If all three trains meet at the same place between New York and Dallas, what is the speed of Train C? The distance between New York and Dallas is 1,260 miles.  


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