About Thinking Blocks

Thinking Blocks was developed by Colleen King in 2003 to help students who were struggling with math word problems. Before creating Thinking Blocks, Colleen was using problem sets from Singapore Math texts in a course for accelerated students at a math enrichment center. The model drawing approach in these texts gave upper elementary students a path to more advanced concepts and algebraic reasoning. Colleen sought a more flexible solution for struggling learners and designed a model drawing application called Blocks. The first group of students to test the program often made comments about how smart they were when using Blocks and how Blocks made "their brains work better". Colleen observed students who were reasoning, understanding, and problem solving. Her students were using thinking Blocks.

Today Colleen uses Thinking Blocks and, more generally, the Singapore model drawing approach with students who have very diverse mathematical backgrounds. While the concept of modeling word problems is most closely associated with Singapore Math, Colleen has found it to be compatible with all elementary math programs. Model drawing is a powerful reasoning and organizational tool that every student should experience. Thinking Blocks makes it possible for teachers and homeschooling parents to easily integrate model drawing with the math program of their choice. Please contact Colleen for more information on Thinking Blocks.

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The activities on the Thinking Blocks site provide both guided instruction and independent practice.
Guided Instruction - The Tutorials
  • sections cover addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, and ratios
  • videos show worked examples from each section
  • progress tracking (limited to the current session; a data saving option may be available at a later date)
  • deselecting tracking activates practice mode which allows students to try various problems
  • students may work on a specific skill or attempt randomized problems in each category
Independent Practice - The Modeling Tool
  • sections cover addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, ratios, decimals, percent, and algebra
  • choose from hundreds of built in word problems or enter your own problems
  • dynamically generated models enable students to check their work
  • full screen option for use with interactive whiteboards
Terms of Use
Thinking Blocks is free to use at home or in the classroom. The following restrictions apply:
  • activities must be accessed from www.thinkingblocks.com or www.mathplayground.com and may not be downloaded
  • activities may not be shown via other domains through the use of iFrames or other technologies
Singapore Math Resources
Professional Development Products Blogs and Websites
SDE Math in Focus Singapore Math Source
Cassandra Turner Sonlight Singapore Math Blog
Kevin Mahoney Carson-Dellosa Singapore Math Plus
Sherri Adler Conceptua Math - Fractions The Singapore Maths Teacher
Tricia Salerno Singapore Math Now The Daily Riff
Kelli Trainer    
Susan Midlarsky    
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