Multiplication of Whole Numbers in the Curriculum: Singapore, Japan, Portugal, the USA, Mexico, Brazil, and Chile

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter shows how the teaching of multiplication is structured in national curriculum standards (programs) around the world. (The documents are distributed by national governments via the web. Those documents are written in different formats and depths. For understanding the descriptions of the standards, we also refer to national authorized textbooks for confirmation of meanings.) The countries chosen for comparison in this case are two countries in Asia, one in Europe, two in North America, and two in South America: Singapore, Japan, Portugal, the USA (where the Common Core State Standards (2010) are not national but are agreed on by most of the states), Mexico, Brazil, and Chile, from the viewpoint of their influences on Ibero-American countries. (The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards (published in 2000) and the Japanese and Singapore textbooks have been influential in Latin America. Additionally, Portugal was selected to be compared with Brazil). To distinguish between each country’s standard and the general standards described here, the national curriculum standards are just called the “program.” The comparison shows the differences in the programs for multiplication in these countries in relation to the sequence of the description and the way of explanation. The role of this chapter in Part I of this book is to provide the introductory questions that will be discussed in Chaps. 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 to explain the features of the Japanese approach. (As is discussed in Chap. 1, the Japanese approach includes the Japanese curriculum, textbooks, and methods of teaching which can be used for designing classes, as has been explored in Chile (see (Estrella, Mena, Olfos, Lesson Study in Chile: a very promising but still uncertain path. In Quaresma, Winsløw, Clivaz, da Ponte, Ní Shúilleabháin, Takahashi (eds), Mathematics lesson study around the world: Theoretical and methodological issues. Cham: Springer, pp. 105-122, 2018). The comparison focuses on multiplication of whole numbers. In multiplication, all of these countries seem to have similar goals-namely, for their students to grasp the meaning of multiplication and develop fluency in calculation. However, are they the same? By using the newest editions of each country’s curriculum standards, comparisons are done on the basis of the manner of writing, with assigned grades for the range of numbers, meanings, expression, tables, and multidigit multiplication. The relationship with other specific content such as division, the use of calculators, the treatment of multiples, and mixed arithmetic operations are beyond the scope of this comparison. Those are mentioned only if there is a need to show diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Multiplication with Lesson Study
Subtitle of host publicationJapanese and Ibero-American Theories for International Mathematics Education
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783030285616
ISBN (Print)9783030285609
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Arithmetic operation
  • Comparative study
  • Curriculum
  • Mathematics
  • Multiplication


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