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Sansu Math, Grade 2 Set Review by Jacquelin Caffey

Student Book, Two Teachers Books
Koyo Publishing

In Japan the most widely used math program in the elementary grades is the Sansu Math series. This series is an adaptation of the Tokyo Shoseki series New Mathematics that adheres to the country’s Ministry of Education’s Course of Study. For US educators, topics such as money and measurement are also studied for mastery.

Instead of focusing on a wide variety of topics within a grade level, Sansu Math chooses to focus only on a selective number of topics. This method allows for greater teaching topics in depth in a spiral learning fashion. The slow, repetitive pacing of the program allows students to master concepts such as reasoning, problem solving, representation, and justification fully before moving on to a new topic.

The 2nd grade set includes two hardcover teachers books and paperback student workbook and includes 172 lessons meant to take roughly forty-five minutes to teach. The included over view table of contents is color-coded and lists the “most important” Grade 2 topics with a green bullet while other topics are denoted with a golden yellow bullet. Topics covered in Grade 2 include:

Tables and Graphs

Time and Elapsed Time

Addition Algorithm

Subtraction Algorithm

Units of Length

3-Digit Numbers

Units of Money

Better ways to Calculate

Triangles and Quadrilaterals



4-Digit Numbers

U.S. Customary Units of Length

Units of Capacity

Shapes of boxes

Grade 2 topics were developed as a multi-year development of number sense and place value, however, the two most important topics that need to be mastered in this year are addition and subtraction algorithm of two-digit numbers and solving problems with addition and subtraction including the inverse relationship and the properties of operations. If this sounds like an overwhelming task, don’t let it be because the Teacher’s Guide helps you along the way through the steps to teaching the lesson:

  1. Grasping the problem
  2. Independent problem solving
  3. Discussion
  4. Summary
  5. Application problems
  6. Follow-up problems

The Teacher’s Guide includes a set of six student characters that help students learn together through the activities to encourage them to think through the problems and provided encouragement too. It also contains detailed lesson plans that mirrors the Student work book. The student textbook includes detailed, colorful lesson pages that are visually appealing, yet not too busy. The Teacher’s Guide comes in two separate volumes, A and B, and retails for $35.00 each while the Student textbook retails for $25.00.

Because math is more fun when hands-on manipulatives are added a helpful list is provided in the introduction to include:

Base – 10 blocks

Base -10 unit cards

Place-value chart

Numeral cards


Multiplication fact cards

Toy coins and bills

Measuring tools (ruler, meter stick, yard stick, measuring cups)

Set squares

And model clocks

My first grader works on a 2nd grade level for math with a popular math program and Sansu Math 2 set was a bit ahead for her. She loves math so she was up to the challenge and I tailored our Sansu Math time and took the lessons a bit slower when needed. She has really risen to the challenge that comes with this high quality program and her math competency has improved even more over the course of the last two months. That is huge in my book to see that much improvement over such a short period of time especially since the material is really considered more third grade material based off topics covered. For example, Sansu Math 2 introduces multiplication and 4-digit numbers and fluency in multiplication is expected by the end of 2nd grade in Japan while typically in the US, fluency is not expected until 3rd grade.

Overall, we are having a great time using this math program as a supplemental program 2 times a week since my daughter only schools four days a week. We work our regular math program and then work the Sansu Math lesson later on during the day, or in some cases we swap, just depending on how she is feeling. I would definitely say for you to check out this program if you are looking for a high quality math program with a solid foundation. I know we will continue to work through the Grade 2 set during this school year and into next if necessary for completion.

—Product review by Jacquelin Caffey, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016