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.

intomathseries

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

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

 

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 info@dc-canada.ca or see the Institute Philos website.

 

Three Little Piggy Banks

November was a special month for DC Canada and a passionate local financial planner, and author, Pamela George. The 5th was the official release of Three Little Piggy Banks, a personal finance storybook for ages 4 to 8. Both the author and illustrator Meredith Luce received congratulatory plaques from Mayor Jim Watson who called the book a “must read” and “fun teaching tool for young readers.”

tlpbcover

Twins, Ella and Andy each receive three piggy banks for their birthday when they already have their hearts set on a camera and a bike. Why three piggy banks? Their clever parents have a much bigger gift in mind: a lesson in financial wisdom and a plan to set the twins up for a life of financial security.

pg12

It’s really that easy. Three dollars a week and a handy pull-out tracking sheet that comes with the book will give young readers a solid foundation of financial literacy that can improve their lives immeasurably.

We had the chance to talk to kids about piggy banks at Chapters-Rideau on November 12th.  It was no surprise that when we brought up the subject of saving, many kids naturally told us about their dreams for the future and their heart’s desires. They know the exact amount they have saved in a piggy bank or account, and often they know exactly how they plan to spend it. One boy claimed his $350 of savings would be spent on exactly 350 ice cream cones. Others had more practical goals in mind.

With a bit of guidance, youngsters will take on the responsibility of managing an allowance of any size with a lot of enthusiasm. Three Little Piggy Banks is a great tool for starting this conversation and illustrating the necessity of living within one’s means. Pamela George believes it is never too soon to start learning about money and how to manage it, so pick up a piggy bank, or two, or three! Start a conversation about personal finance with your kids today.

Les trois tirelires

Novembre était un mois spécial pour DC Canada et pour une planificatrice financière locale, et auteure, Pamela George. Le cinq novembre marquait le lancement de « Three Little Piggy Banks », un livre d’histoire sur les finances personnelles pour les enfants entre quatre et huit ans. L’auteure et l’illustratrice Meredith Luce ont reçu des plaques de félicitations du Maire Jim Watson qui a déclaré le livre « à lire absolument » et qui l’a qualifié « d’outil d’apprentissage amusant pour jeunes lecteurs ».

tlpbcover

Les jumeaux Ella et Andy ont reçu trois tirelires pour leur anniversaire alors qu’ils désiraient à ce point faire l’acquisition d’une caméra et d’un vélo. Pourquoi trois tirelires? Leurs parents, futés, avaient un cadeau beaucoup plus important en tête : une leçon de sagesse et de sécurité financière à vie pour leurs jumeaux.

pg12

C’est réellement aussi facile. Trois dollars par semaine et une feuille de suivi détachable accompagnant le livre offriront aux jeunes lecteurs des bases solides d’alphabétisation financière qui pourront améliorer leurs vies de façon incommensurable.

Nous avons eu la chance de discuter avec des enfants au sujet des tirelires à la boutique Chapters Rideau le 12 Novembre. Ce ne fût pas une surprise, une fois le sujet des économies soulevé, de constater que plusieurs enfants aient naturellement des profonds désirs et rêves à partager quant à leur futur. Ils savaient exactement quelle somme ils avaient économisé dans leur tirelire ou dans leur compte, et ils savaient souvent exactement sur quoi allaient le dépenser. Un garçon a prétendu avoir 350$ d’économisé et qu’il allait le dépenser sur exactement 350 cornets de crème glacée. D’autres avaient des buts plus pratiques en tête.

Avec un peu d’orientation, les jeunes prendront la responsabilité de gérer leur allocation quelle que soit sa taille avec grand enthousiasme. « Three Little Piggy Banks » est un excellent outil qui permet d’amorcer ce sujet de discussion et d’illustrer la nécessité de vivre selon ses moyens. Pamela George croit qu’il n’est jamais trop tôt pour commencer à apprivoiser l’argent et la gérer, alors équipez-vous d’une, de deux ou de trois tirelires! Entamez une conversation au sujet des finances personnelles de vos enfants dès aujourd’hui.