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 of Toronto 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.