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RTG Education | Lifestyle | Recipes | Math Games | Did You Know?!





Kim Langen speaks about the value of creativity | pg. 2

What a Challenge Means to SoM Students | pg. 5

Press Conference in Pakistan: Closing the Gap | pg. 3

Delish Brain Boosters | pgs. 6-7



Exercise your brain with this issue’s Mind Bender, learn about creativity with fractals in nature, and play Sudoku Sizzler | pg. 8 CEO and Co-Founder, Kimberley Langen, speaking at the SoM Press Conference in Lahore, Pakistan on January 15, 2018 | More on pg. 3

KIM’S KORNER War on Imagination



About Kim A loving wife and mother of two, an innovative entrepreneur, and a voice of authority in education. Spirit of Math Schools CEO and Co-founder, Kimberley Langen, is dedicated to “Releasing the Genius” in every child around the globe. Kim has an extensive background in mathematics and education; she holds a Bachelor of Education degree in Math and Science from the University of Toronto, as well as a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Biology from Queen’s University. A Canadian teacher, Kim has taught at numerous high schools in Toronto and was the Head of Academics at The Bethany Hills School before incorporating Spirit of Math in 1995. Kim was named Entrepreneur of the Year by EY (Ernst & Young) finalist, is a member of Chatelaine’s W100 2015 List of Top Female Entrepreneurs and is nominated for The 2018 Mompreneur® Awards!


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Releasing the Genius

pg. 2

Welby Altido, the former Executive Creative Director of Cirque du Soleil and author of Creative Courage, describes in his book what he calls, “the war on imagination”. He highlights his experience in North Korea and his intense reaction to a world of extreme rules, restrictions, and the suppression of imagination and creativity. I also had a similar experience in 1986 when I took a group of students to the communist Soviet Union. People did what they were supposed to do, and nothing more. Once, when some students were getting their money exchanged, the town clock struck 12 o’clock. At the start of the striking, the person who was behind the booth, grabbed his window and closed it. The money transaction had not finished. When we got quite upset and said it would only take another 3 minutes to finish the transaction, the person looked blankly at us and said it was lunch time. We had to wait there until he finished lunch, at which time the transaction finished. An inability to have creative thought, spurred by imagination immobilizes people and, from what I experienced, it also takes away the care for life and the love of life. Imagination is the seed for creativity. Without creativity there is no innovation, very little collaboration and little joy in life. When watching someone teach, I can tell right away if the students have been taught to have a creative thought process. The most obvious sign is that the students aren’t just waiting for the teacher to tell them what to do. When a person has been taught how to think with a creative thought process, then they are much more likely to take initiative, take risk, enjoy listening to the ideas of others, and apply those ideas to their own ideas. In Canada, creativity took a priority in the classroom. So much so that it became more important than developing knowledge and skills and was understood to be the ability to come up with as many answers as possible without good, solid logic and without using skills. Students weren’t frightened to take risks, but they also lost a disciplined approach to being creative. Yes, you can be creative and disciplined at the same time. MYTHS 1. Skills don’t affect creativity. False. The more skills you have, the more creative you can be. 2. Creativity is the same as innovation. False. Being creative is taking something that is already there, and doing something different with it. For example, you can be creative by rearranging flowers. Being innovative, on the other hand, is coming up with something very new. 3. Innovation requires technology. False. Innovation is not limited to technology. Keep your creativity alive by practicing developing your skill of imagination. z

Spirit of Math® is a thought leader, influencer, change maker and an authoritative voice in higher education. Spirit of Math Schools Inc. (SoM) is an exclusive and elite Canadian after-school math enrichment program for high-performing and gifted students from Kindergarten to grade 11. For over 30 years has been creating problem solvers of today and leaders of tomorrow, with more than 8,400 students attending our more than 40 campuses across Canada, in the United States, and in Pakistan. Our unique curriculum challenges and advances students’ problem-solving and logical thinking skills, resulting in students finding themselves on national and international mathematics honour rolls year-after-year. Over the decades, SoM has been increasing the standard of excellence in global math education; its successful program was asked to solely represent Canada at the World Mathematical Olympiad (WMO) in Beijing, China on August 12, 2017. SoM’s Team Canada (Grades 3-6), competed on the world stage and proudly earned Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE

SoM NEWS A Global Urgency: Closing the Education Gap Canada’s Spirit of Math Schools Inc. CEO and Co-Founder, Kimberley Langen, says the education gap is a “global urgency”. As the world continues to change rapidly, the success of our worldwide community depends on the development of our youth, our future leaders, who must be educated to be creative, innovative, strategic, cooperative and who are solutions driven. Unfortunately, 264-million children globally are without access to education, according to the 2017 UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report.

Closing the education gap was the main message at Spirit of Math’s first ever press conference in Pakistan. The press conference for educators, parents and students was held on January 15th at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore. Kimberley Langen was the moderator for the panel, made-up of key Pakistani educators and advocates for higher-education, they were addressing the question of how to close the education gap in Pakistan.

for students in grades 1 to 5 from community welfare schools, which Bushra generously donated on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Bushra and Spirit of Math are pledging their support in closing the education gap in Pakistan. “We do need to remember that we are all here together. It’s not just one country over another. That’s why it was important to announce the bursaries, because we feel that it’s time to close that gap. It’s about not just talking about it, but taking action,” Kimberley Langen said. “When you take kids, who are highly-motivated, pull them up, you create a vacuum underneath, and when you create that vacuum other people see, ‘oh, this is possible.’ When you get that happening, you get the genius released in kids.” Moved by the event’s engaging discussion, attendee and Spirit of Math parent, Dr. Nuzhat, joined the panel on stage—pictured below from far-left to right: Kimberley Langen, Kirsti Langen, Mian Imran Masood, Shehryar Salamat, Major General Obaid Bin Zakria and SoM parent, Dr. Nuzhat—wanting to share her encompassing experience at Spirit of Math with the audience. “To all the parents out there who want to fall in love with the process of learning again or want their kids to master the skills and concepts of math, I want to tell you that this is the right place,” proclaimed Dr. Nuzhat, who has two daughters, two nieces, and a nephew enrolled in the program. “It’s a whole new dimension. I hope and pray that they keep up the good work.”

Addressing the roughly 150 people in attendance, Kimberley spoke on how it is vital for today’s youth to be able to think divergently, be imaginative and innovative, and to embrace independent thought in a world proliferated by fake news and fake facts. Most importantly perhaps, she noted, they need to learn to coexist. “We need to think differently,” explained Kimberley. “Many different parties must be held accountable so that all children have equal access to good education, but what I want to mention today is the fact that it’s not just about people in education or in government who should be looking after education, it should be everyone.” Following an engaging panel and question period, Pakistani Living Legend, Bushra Ansari, (seen above between Kimberley Langen and Kirsti Langen) announced the 10 recipients (5 girls and 5 boys) of the SoM Bursaries,

She went on to express how she’s seen first hand what can be accomplished when a higher-education program like Spirit of Math provides children with the right tools to reach their full potential. z

See the Spirit of Math Pakistan press conference video at www.spiritofmath.com/lahore/ DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE

pg. 3

SoM NEWS Updating Your Most Powerful Device We constantly upgrade our computers and smartphones, their platforms, software and APPs, it seems to be never-ending challenge to remain electronically current. Much like our most cherished electronic devices, we must also regularly aim to upgrade our minds and remember that our brain is our most powerful wireless device. January is International Brain Teaser Month; we are reminded to give our minds a mental upgrade with riddles, logic games, puzzles, which experts say help children and adults alike to develop their improve their memorization, and foster their abilities in automaticity, logical thinking, spatial sense, creative problem solving, as well as their numeracy skills. In a 2017 study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter in England, 17,000 healthy people 50-years-old and over submitted an online trial assessing core aspects of brain function. They discovered that the participants who had reported regularly completing word and numerical puzzles, performed at a higher-level than those who did not. “We found direct relationships between the frequency of word puzzle use and the speed and accuracy of performance on nine cognitive tasks assessing a range of aspects of function including attention, reasoning

and memory,” Keith Wesnes, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Exeter Medical School, told sciencedaily.com “Performance was consistently better in those who reported engaging in puzzles, and generally improved incrementally with the frequency of puzzle use.” Brain Teasers encourage us to think differently and to exercise and use parts of our brain that don’t normally see a lot of activity. For example, a student may use the temporal lobe portion of their brain in the sequencing and organization of numbers in a mental math exercise, whereas a visual puzzle requires the use of the occipital lobe – the brain’s visual processing center. Using questions and riddles with twists and turns, brain teasers use both the logical-thinking left and relationship-thinking right sides of the brain while encouraging students to read carefully, think reasonably, and collaborate with their peers to compare solutions. Riddles invoke deep thought to achieve an unexpected answer. During International Brain Teaser Month, challenge yourself and your children with a daily brain teaser. Be sure to mix things up with a variety of different teasers such as, riddles, mathematical problems, visual puzzles and optical illusions. z


Laila has two brothers named Harry and Gus. One of them is not Harry, who is the other one? Source: Spirit of Math Student Workbook Level 1 | “The Other One” | See solution at top of pg. 8 pg. 4



“The purpose of math is to cultivate logical thinking skills.” –Charles Ledger


igh-performing and gifted students who enter our Spirit of Math (SoM) after-school program, are typically finding a lack of challenge in their typical day. Before a student can enroll in our program, Campus Directors, like myself, determine if the student is willing to commit to challenging work, with the support of their parents to “Release the Genius” within. In my early days with Spirit of Math, I heard math educator Charles Ledger say, “The purpose of math is to cultivate logical thinking skills.” His words made quite an impact on how I think about teaching math, and still resonate with me whenever I look at my eager students. One of the first questions we ask a potential student during their interview into SoM is, “What does ‘challenge’ mean to you?”. It sounds like a simple question, however it allows us to determine how the student will deal with complex situations and whether they would be a good fit for our program. I have heard students give answers ranging from “it helps me to grow” to “I don’t know”. This question is followed up with asking why we would want to challenge them. We want to understand their experiences with challenging situations and learn more about who they are as students. Typically after the first month at SoM, a new student’s parents will question why their child is feeling so overwhelmed in our program. In order to determine the reasons, I typically ask the student about their work habits, what they do to seek help, what their schedules are like outside of their day school, and ask the parents what they do to support their child’s learning. Through this process, we learn more about the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Some students may need to manage their schedules better to allocate appropriate time for their SoM homework. Other students may be reluctant to ask for help and will need to learn how to utilize

their teachers and peers as learning resources. Some students also need to improve their organizational skills to better improve their independent study habits, such as keeping their binder tidy. Whatever the challenge may be, our elite curriculum helps maximize the growth potential of our SoM students. New parents and students alike sometimes question why they have never had any difficulties with their day-school work, and yet they are finding our program to be a great challenge. Our program is meant to be challenging and to take students to a new level. This is when I respond to them with “That’s the point!”. A student grows the greatest when they have encountered new obstacles and have learned how to overcome them. Our unique approach to teaching is designed to be very intense, to challenge students and further advance not only their math skills, but also their life skills. Cooperative Teamwork is a large part of our program, allowing students to work with like-minded peers, while being supportive to others and being supported themselves. When we determine the needs of a student and share where we feel they can grow, parents are often surprised that we also look at current habits, personalities, and other aspects of the student’s life outside of the classroom. Spirit of Math is a program that teaches more than just math by utilizing its unique curriculum. Students learn about life skills that help grow them into problem solvers of today and leaders of tomorrow. I am fortunate to witness enormous intellectual, emotional, and moral growth in my students during their academic journey at Spirit of Math; it is immensely rewarding to watch them learn how to creatively overcome their obstacles, simply because they learned what a challenge means to them. z

See our Spirit of Math curriculum by grade at www.spiritofmath.com/curriculum/ DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE

pg. 5

SoM TIPS RECIPES Halibut Nicoise Salad BY NANCY BAGGETT | EATINGWELL.COM Salad Nicoise, a classic French salad, is typically made with tuna. To make it quicker, substitute 2 or 3 cans of drained chunk light tuna. Or skip the fish altogether for a vegetarian main-course salad. INGREDIENTS: 5-6 medium red potatoes, halved 1-1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed Juice of 1 large lemon 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided 1 pound Halibut 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper 1 large head Boston lettuce 1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes 3 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges 1/4 cup sliced pitted black Kalamata olives 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley VINAIGRETTE 1 medium clove garlic 1/4 teaspoon salt 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice, plus more to taste 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar or red-wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard DIRECTIONS: 1. To prepare vinaigrette: Peel the garlic and smash with the side of a chef’s knife. Using a fork, mash the garlic with ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl to form a coarse paste. Whisk in 5 tablespoons oil. Add 6 tablespoons orange juice, vinegar and mustard; whisk until well blended. Taste and whisk in up to 4 tablespoons more juice to mellow the flavor; season with more salt, if desired. Set aside at room temperature. 2. To prepare salad: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add potatoes; cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. pg. 6

Remove to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slice and place in a shallow bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 cup vinaigrette; set aside. 3. Add beans to the steamer basket; cook until bright green and just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Rinse in a colander with cold water until cool. Drain well. Place in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. 4. Combine lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil and1/4 teaspoon salt in a sturdy sealable plastic bag; shake until the salt dissolves. Add fish and marinate for up to 20 minutes while you ready the grill. 5. Preheat grill to medium-high for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium. (For a charcoal grill, wait until the flames subside and only coals and some ash remain—flames will cause the oil on the fish to burn.) 6. Drain the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the fish, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side for halibut; 3 to 4 minutes per side for bass. 7. Arrange lettuce leaves on a large serving platter. Arrange the fish (whole or flaked into large chunks), potatoes, green beans and tomatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Garnish with eggs, olives, parsley and pepper to taste. z DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE

SoMSoM RECIPES TIPS Pita and Bean Salad

Spicy Tuna Wrap



Beans add protein to this tasty riff on the classic Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad.

Inspired by spicy tuna sushi rolls, we love how they taste with peppery watercress. If you want to play on the sushi inspiration, stir some wasabi into the soy sauce for dipping and serve with pickled ginger. Serve with sliced cucumbers and slivered red onions tossed with rice vinegar, a little oil and a pinch of salt.

INGREDIENTS: 2 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, broken into pieces 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons ground toasted cumin seeds 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Freshly ground pepper to taste 2 cups cooked pinto beans, drained and warmed 1 cup diced plum tomatoes 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced 1 cup sliced romaine lettuce 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint DIRECTIONS: 1. Bake pitas until crisp and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes at 400°F. Let cool on the pan. 2. Mix garlic and salt to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl, add lemon juice and ground cumin and whisk to blend. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking continually. Season with pepper. 3. Place beans, tomatoes, cucumber in a serving bowl. Add toasted pita, lettuce, feta, parsley, mint and dressing; toss. Serve immediately. z DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE

INGREDIENTS: 2 5- to 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna, drained 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise 1 tablespoon hot sauce 1 scallion, chopped 2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 4 10-inch whole-grain wraps 3 cups watercress leaves 1 ripe avocado, cut into 16 slices 1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks Reduced-sodium soy sauce for dipping (optional) DIRECTIONS: 1. Combine tuna, mayonnaise, hot sauce and scallion in a medium bowl. Combine rice and vinegar in a small bowl. 2. Spread one-fourth of the tuna mixture over a wrap. Top with ½ cup rice, ¾ cup watercress, 4 avocado slices and one-fourth of the carrot matchsticks. Roll up and cut the wrap in quarters or in half. Repeat with the remaining filling and wraps. Serve with soy sauce for dipping, if desired. z pg. 7


Find the solutions on-line on our RTG NewsMagazine page at engage.spiritofmath.com Answer to pg. 3 Brain Teaser is Harry (The person who is not Harry is Gus. The other person is Harry)

Mind Bender (Level 4: Heads and Legs) Raya’s brother Mark loved snakes. Raya loves cats. Each of them had a stuffed animal collection of their favourite animal or reptile. They counted all of their stuffed animals’ heads and legs. If there were 27 heads and 16 legs in total, how many of the stuffed animals were snakes?

Did You Know?!

Sudoku Sizzler

You can use nature as your source of inspiration to create a math masterpiece!

Fractals are not just found in math and art; they can be seen in nature. One of the most famous examples is of the sea shell, in which the Fibonacci sequence is used—clearly an inspiration for the staircase rendering above. Nature’s fractals and their inspirations are everywhere we look; in our gardens, at the beach, in our food, at grocery stores ... they’re everywhere and they’re beautiful. Next time you have an urge to be creative, remember you can use the mathematics of nature as our source of inspiration. pg. 8


Profile for Spirit of Math

RTG NewsMagazine | January 2018  

RTG NewsMagazine | January 2018