Spark the Natural Curiosity of Kids with ‘Into Math with Imagination’

Mathematics is defined as “a boring subject that has nothing to do with real life and is developed just to torture every student for eleven years of school.” *

Just kidding! Math can be as fun and imaginative as any other subject in school. Galileo Galilei described mathematics as the language of the universe, which is very elegant but he forgot to mention that it helps us do cool stuff! Math is all around us every day. How can we help students who are reluctant to embrace this message and seem anxious learning the material?

To help students who struggle or lack motivation in mathematics educators have turned to the discovery method as a support or alternative to rote learning of arithmetic. Discovery learning exercises give students the benefit of seeing mathematical concepts applied directly to their favourite subjects and activities. These exercises use arithmetic to develop the underlying skills that support competency in math, especially logical reasoning and the ability to discuss ideas.


A good mathematical education begins with arithmetic, but the objective of discovery math is to prepare students for real world experiences by mastering the skill of solving problems. This is the reasoning behind Yasmina Roberts’ discovery learning series: Into Math with Imagination. These three storybooks combine mathematics, fiction, and non-fiction to give kids a chance to explore mathematical concepts in different settings. Readers will discover math in these stories the way they encounter it in real life, and hints embedded in the story will guide them toward the correct manner of solving the problem.

Antventures, the first in the series, is for children in Grade 1. The story follows Limpo, a young ant who decides to skip school and observe the adult bugs working in his community. Already, it doesn’t sound like your typical math book!


Mystery in the Sea is for students in Grade 3 and up. Oct is a fastidious young octopus who enjoys collecting and exploring. He’s lived his entire life on the 4th layer of the coral reef, or the 7th depending on whether you count from the top or bottom. This time he’s taking on the mystery of the missing Blue Diamond, which was stolen from Queen Snake.

Logic Land is also for students in Grade 3, but you’ll find more than math to puzzle you here. Logic Land is a world of wizards who would rather use math than magic! Yes, the power of human logic is their go-to method for solving problems.



Yasmina Roberts has a Master’s degree in mathematics from the University oToronto and has taught math in both public and private schools. Her love of puzzles is second only to her love of the natural world, and she hopes to pass on this joy through her series, Into Math with Imagination.







*The preface to Logic Land, by Yasmina Roberts

Playwise Wins 2017 Game of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine

Congratulations to George Ghanotakis and the team at Institute Philos! Playwise, the Game of Wisdom, has won Creative Child Magazine’s Game of the Year Award!

Playwise is so much more than a fun game. It provides the framework for productive conversations that foster critical thinking abilities, moral reasoning, empathy, and dialog skills in children ages 6 and up! It also develops executive function skills such as flexibility in entertaining multiple perspectives, reflection, problem solving, and attentiveness to others. It’s a character building tool that improves student performance in every subject across the curriculum.

Here’s how to play:

Playwise is a game of discussion. Players take turns asking a philosophical question from one of the five categories and reward the best answer with the question card and a laurel card. The winner is the first to collect 10 laurels and a question card from each category.  The more original and creative your answer, the more likely you are to win! You can also win bonus laurels by building on the ideas of your fellow players. Draw comparisons between one idea and another or explore the implications of your opponent’s argument to highlight its strengths and weaknesses. It may lead to a fantastic new insight! It may also lead to bed sheet togas.

George Ghanotakis is working to establish his own Canada-wide tournament of philosophical, democratic discussion inspired by the National High School Ethics Bowl and Philosophy Slam taking place in the United States. He’s calling it the Playwise Olympiads in celebration of the classical tradition of education.  We’re currently looking for schools (elementary, junior high, middle school, and secondary) who are interested in hosting the first event in 2018! For more information, or to volunteer, feel free to contact us any time at or see the Institute Philos website.



Félicitations aux gagnants de notre concours annuel Le Petit grand penseur 2017 et merci à tous ceux qui ont participé!

Chaque année, nous invitons des enfants âgés de 5 à 11 ans à répondre à une des 4 questions philosophiques posées dans n’importe quel format dans lequel ils se sentent à l’aise afin d’avoir la chance de gagner des livres et des jeux pour leur salle de classe. Cette année, nous avons reçu une multitude de réponses créatives et originales à travers des écoles issues de partout au Canada. Les réponses provenaient d’écoles publiques, d’écoles privées et aussi d’enfants faisant l’école à la maison. Ce n’était vraiment pas facile de choisir parmi tant d’excellentes réponses! Il y avait des histoires, de beaux dessins et même des vidéos. Nous partagerons plusieurs d’entre eux sur nos pages Facebook et Twitter dans les prochains jours.

Nos juges ont dû choisir 3 réponses en français et en Anglais qui montraient un sens critique, de l’originalité et la compréhension de la question. Voici les gagnants du concours Le Petit Grand penseur 2017!


1er prix – Hudson Van Dale – Winnipeg, Manitoba

2e prix – Reese Layman – Ottawa, Ontario

3e prix – Malacai Heibert – Steinbach, Manitoba


1er prix – Rileigh Dusseault – Penticton, Colombie Britannique

2e prix – Alex Jung – Penticton, Colombie Britannique

3e prix – Faith Henderson – Penticton, Colombie Britannique

Et encore de bonnes nouvelles! Notre jeu Apprenti-Sage qui est le jeu inspirant le concours a été choisi comme jeu de l’année 2017 par le magazine Creative Kids! Félicitations au Dr. George Ghanotakis et son équipe à l’institut canadien de philosophie pour enfants.

Dr George Ghanotakis travaille en ce moment afin de mettre en place un tournoi de discussion philosophique et démocratique à travers le Canada, les Olympiades Playwise, inspirées par le National High School Ethics Bowl et Philosophy Slam qui a lieu aux États-Unis. Nous sommes à la recherche d’écoles (élémentaires, lycées et secondaires) qui pourraient être intéressées à accueillir l’évènement dans leurs écoles en 2018! Pour plus d’informations ou pour être bénévoles, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter à!Apprenti-sage-gameoftheyear

Canada Learning Code Week

From June 1 to 8, more than 10,000 kids across Canada will take part in Canada Learning Code Week, an educational program that combines history and literature with a simple programming tool called Scratch.  These are beginner lessons for kids who want to learn the basics of computer programming. No experience necessary!

We’re very proud to be partnered with Canada Learning Code this year. Students will be using Scratch to create a trivia game based on Bario Leblieux from Dustin Milligan’s story series the Charter for Children.


If you’re new to the series, Bario Leblieux aims to help children understand the right to minority language education, which is guaranteed by section 23 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The purpose of section 23 is to preserve and promote French and English, the two official languages of Canada, in provinces where it is not spoken by the majority of the population.  Kids will learn a little history, test their language skills, and learn some basic programming that they can apply to create… just about anything!

Check out the Canada Learning Code website to find a class near you!