There are essentially two general types of model drawing to date. (May 2020). They are the Part-Whole and Comparison Models. These two basic model drawings form the backbone of the Singapore Model Method. Variants of these basic models have also emerged to solve more complicated word problems.
Basic Model Types
Example of Part-Whole Model
Example of Comparison Model
Intermediate Model Types
Example of Percentage Changes
Example of Remainder Model
Advanced Model Types
Before and After
Same or different
Set / Group
Example of Before-After Model
Example of Equal-Different Model
Example of Set/Group Model
Example of Algebraic Method
There are many more different "types" of model drawing out in the market. Many gave it special names for gimmick and marketing purposes. Some teachers use different names to make it easier to remember. Some even get students to memorise certain types of model drawing when they see certain words or phrases!
Although these may get students to recall certain methodologies taught in classes, many of these variants and names confuse students. Many of them get mixed up with similar model drawings or recalled wrong models. Even if they remembered it correctly, often they were told that this word problem is an exception and hence not able to solve it in the "conventional" way. Instead, they come up with even more variants to round the argument.
This often puts off both students and concerned parents as they struggle to understand why there are so many different types and why and when will a word problem be or not an exception. This causes much anxiety among students and parents which should not happen in the first place because the initial intent of the Singapore Model Method is to scaffold students in comprehending the word problem and in turn solve the problem!
While I understand that some students tend to recall certain methodologies that they have learnt better with acronyms or special names, I am instead advocating getting students to understand where and how these variants of model drawing come from: Part-Whole or Comparison Models. Students need to appreciate how these basic model drawings can be modified to better suit themselves in comprehending and solving the word problem instead of memorising methods after methods and recalling them after seeing a few words or phrases.
Therefore, I would urge parents and educators who wish to inculcate Mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills in their children to first appreciate how these basic model drawings come about and how they can be used to simplify complicated word problems before jumping into various types of model drawing with very fanciful names. Only then will your child be able to grasp these concepts well and able to transit into the algebraic method smoother. You do not wish to see your child struggling to memorise steps and method involving algebra because it is just plain insane and impossible.
Hence, set the foundations right so that your child is able to learn Mathematics independently in the future.
In the next few articles, I will be sharing on
Introduction to Part-Whole Model
Introduction to Comparison Model
How Part-Whole and Comparison Model works with Addition and Subtraction
How Part-Whole and Comparison Model works with Multiplication and Division
How Part-Whole and Comparison Model works with Fractions
How Part-Whole and Comparison Model works with Ratios
How Part-Whole and Comparison Model works with Percentages
How Part-Whole and Comparison Model relates to Algebraic Method
before sharing on the other Intermediate and Advanced Model Drawing!