18 May 2020

The winners of the En avant math! call for projects

On November 28, 2019, the En avant math! initiative was launched. The En avant math! initiative, under the initiative of two research centres, CIRANO and the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM), was made possible thanks to a grant from the Ministère des Finances du Québec.


En avant math! is composed of three components, including a call for field activities aimed at various audiences: preschool, elementary and secondary including parent-child, college and university activities as well as activities for the general public. This is a first call for proposals, with a total envelope of $150,000. In order to be able to award several grants, the maximum amount granted per application cannot exceed $18,000.


We are very happy to announce the 12 selected projects following this first competition. But, before presenting these projects, let's come back to the arbitration process of these projects.


A selection committee has been set up. This committee, chaired by Frédéric Gourdeau and Louise Poirier, was composed of seven people involved and interested in mathematics at various levels and in various regions of Quebec.


Members of the jury:

  • Mélanie Boucher (Member of the Board of Directors, Groupe des responsables en mathématiques au secondaire, Commission scolaire de la Capitale))
  • Frédéric Gourdeau (Professor, Université Laval and President, Quebec Mathematical Association)
  • Philippe Labrosse (Professional Resource, Une école montréalaise pour tous, Ministère de l'éducation et de l'enseignement supérieur)
  • Louise Poirier (Université de Montréal, CRM)
  • Olivier Rousseau (Professor, Cégep de l’Outaouais)
  • Catherine Tourigny (Elementary Mathematics Consultant, Commission scolaire de la Rivière-du-Nord)
  • Mélanie Tremblay (Professor, UQAR)


As of February 15, 2020, the deadline for submission, we have received 43 projects. A few projects were sent after this date and were refused on the basis of late submission. The selection criteria and a table to note the results for each criterion and compile them were provided to the referees. A conference call was used to explain and illustrate the criteria and to answer questions from the jury members.


A distribution of projects among the referees (two referees per project) was made taking into account declared potential conflicts of interest. Thus, jury members who had contributed to a project, submitted a project or were otherwise in potential conflict of interest declared them, and the committee put in place procedures to effectively manage these situations.


Each project was read by two judges. The results were compiled in a table. As a result of this compilation, some projects (1/3 of the projects) were eliminated. The remaining projects (29 projects) were distributed among the judges, always taking into account potential conflicts of interest and ensuring that they were read by new judges. Each project was adjudicated by 3 judges for this second round for a total of 5 judges per project.


As a result, 12 projects were selected.


A few remarks on the selected projects

In order to avoid that an overly severe evaluation or, on the contrary, an overly generous evaluation would affect the selection, we calculated the average of the 5 evaluations per project as well as the average of 3 evaluations per project by removing the two extremes. In both calculation methods, the same projects were clearly different.

Surprisingly, the same project manager got two of them. Indeed, some people have submitted more than one project after asking us if it was possible to do so. Since this was our first experience and we did not know how the community would respond to our call for projects, we allowed more than one project to be submitted. And we didn't want to change the rules of the game along the way. We will discuss this criterion for a future competition.

If we had granted the projects the amount requested, we would have far exceeded the $150,000 allocated. We reviewed the projects with particular attention to the budget requested and the justifications. We decided to give a maximum of $15,000 and not $18,000. The total amount of the selected projects: $150,000.


Selected Projects


Valérie Bilodeau (CEO, Les Scientifines)
Les maths partout autour de nous (Mathematics all around us)

  • Target Age Group: Elementary school students
  • Location: Montréal, underprivileged area
  • Amount Allocated: $13,500 

Through the project Les maths partout autour de nous!, Les Scientifines seeks to further develop its offer of mathematics-related activities in order to make our participants aware of the central place that mathematics occupies in all spheres of science and even in everyday life. We want to develop 20 educational workshops that promote the acquisition of mathematical knowledge in a fun and creative way. These workshops will be integrated into our regular programming, in addition to being offered to young people in our partner schools and organizations, so that more than 1,000 young people can benefit from them.


France Caron (Université de Montréal)
Modéliser et simuler pour comprendre le monde (Model and simulate to understand the world)

  • Target Age Group: College and university, possibly high school
  • Location: Workshops in Quebec, as well as website
  • Amount Allocated: $10,510 

This project seeks to showcase the contribution of mathematical modelling in the fields of health and the environment. Workshops will be offered to explore either of these themes from the perspective of dynamic systems, to learn how to build and use models, and to make connections with the mathematics being taught. Offered to students and teachers at the college level or in institutes or schools where mathematics is applied to these themes, these workshops will provide an introduction to mathematical modelling, allow students and teachers to take a critical look at the results generated in this way, and to consider with a new openness the possibility of using mathematics in these sectors.


Jean-Marie De Konninck (Université Laval)
Assurer la pérennité de Math en jeu (Ensuring the sustainability of Math en jeu)

  • Target Age Group: Elementary and secondary
  • Location: Website
  • Amount Allocated: $15,000

Sciences et mathématiques en action (SMAC) has a mission to awaken and strengthen interest in mathematics and science among young people and to demystify mathematics to the general public. SMAC's mission is achieved through several activities, including Math en jeu, an interactive multimedia game accessible free of charge on the Internet (over 28,000 registered users, mainly young people) and several other activities (lecture-shows, interactive science plays, workshops) that reach nearly 65,000 Canadian elementary and secondary school students every year. The application to "En avant math!" is aimed at consolidating and updating Math en jeu so that thousands of young people can continue to use this free educational tool despite the technological changes we are facing. The funds requested will be used to cover expenses related to programming related to new technologies. Our goal is to reach more young people, while increasing our "mathematical footprint" in each of them.


Jean-Marie De Konninck (Université Laval)
Activités mathématiques ludiques gratuites
(Free playful mathematical activities)

  • Target Age Group: Elementary and secondary
  • Location: All regions of Quebec
  • Amount Allocated: $14,000

Sciences et mathématiques en action (SMAC) has a mission to awaken and strengthen interest in mathematics and science among young people and to demystify mathematics to the general public. To do so, we offer a number of activities, including mathematical lecture shows, interactive science plays, games and workshops, reaching close to 65,000 young Canadians at the elementary and secondary levels each year. The application to "En avant math!" is aimed at building on existing activities. The funds requested will be used to offer our activities free of charge to public and underprivileged schools. Our goal is to reach more young people, while increasing our "math footprint" in each of them.


Mélisande Fortin-Boisvert (Collège de Maisonneuve)
Déploiement de la ressource pédagogique Code tes maths (Deploying the learning resource Code tes maths)

  • Target Age Group: Secondary
  • Location: Workshops in Quebec and website
  • Amount Allocated: $14,000

The goal is to consolidate and enrich the educational resource of Code tes maths in order to ensure the multiplication of activities in other regions of Quebec. Collège de Maisonneuve has developed programming workshops in collaboration with four Montreal high schools. These workshops use mathematical concepts from Secondary III. The workshops are hosted on a web-based educational platform and are led by CEGEP students in the classrooms. This pedagogical resource reinforces mathematics learning at the secondary level, while developing students' digital skills. Facilitation by other young people who share their passions and backgrounds is a motivating factor for school perseverance.


Frédéric Gourdeau (Université Laval)
Cercle mathématique ludique de l’AQJM and Semaine des maths 2020 (Playful Mathematical Circle and Math Week 2020)

  • Target Age Group: Elementary and possibly secondary
  • Location: All regions of Quebec
  • Amount Allocated: $15,000

The Association québécoise des jeux mathématiques (AQJM) wishes to set up Mathematical Circles with a strong playful flavour, aimed primarily at elementary school children, with a view to developing them for secondary school children. We are going to make these activities available to everyone (after experimenting and refining them) and we will work to make them as easily accessible as possible to our partners and interested people. We also want to continue developing new activities for Semaine des maths 2020 (Math Week 2020).

The purpose of this grant application is to allow the AQJM to continue its work while embarking on a new project in playful and participatory mathematics by offering, during the 2020-2021 school year, meetings of the Cercle mathématique ludique (Playful Mathematical Circle) to young people in grades 4 to 6 once a month, each session being offered three times (different days, locations and/or clientele). One of these monthly sessions will be offered with a partner working in an underprivileged environment: Project 180. Funding for the "En avant math!" project will be dedicated to the development of the AQJM Cercle mathématique (Mathematical Circle), the activities that will be offered and its organization, as well as to the development of new activities for Semaine des maths (Math Week).


Alexandra Haedrich (ISM)
Les cercles mathématiques du Québec (Quebec's Mathematical Circles)

  • Target Age Group: Elementary and secondary (ages 10 to 18)
  • Location: Montréal and Sherbrooke, as well as website
  • Amount Allocated: $14,000

Les cercles mathématiques du Québec (Quebec's mathematical circles) introduce students aged 10 to 18 to mathematical research in a fun, non-competitive way. In an informal setting, participants seek to solve mathematical problems under the supervision of professional mathematicians. The circles propose questions that foster a sense of discovery and enthusiasm for mathematics through interactive exploration. Ideal problems are those that can be tackled with a minimum of mathematical knowledge, but which lead to deep mathematical concepts. Participants learn to solve problems with rigour, logic and creativity. Currently there are two mathematical circles in Quebec: one in Montreal led by Ildiko Pelczer at Concordia University, and the second in Sherbrooke led by Vasilisa Shramchenko. Since their foundation, much of the success of these mathematical circles in Quebec has rested on the dedication of the organizers. With the support of the "En avant math!" program, the ISM aims to ensure the sustainability of the circles by training and remunerating student facilitators who will be able to supervise more students and, in the long term, to spread the initiative on a larger scale. To encourage the creation of new Circles, the ISM will increase the visibility of the program and create a centralized website dedicated to circles.


Virginie Houle (UQAM)
Situations mathématiques à caractère ludique pour intervenir en orthopédagogie (Mathematical situations of a playful nature to intervene in orthopedagogy)

  • Target Age Group: Elementary, orthopedagogy
  • Location: Montréal, Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeois
  • Amount Allocated: $14,000

This project aims to create mathematical situations in a playful context in order to encourage the cognitive engagement and learning of elementary school students with mathematical difficulties. As part of this project, orthodidactic mathematics specialists from UQAM will support CSMB professionals in the appropriation and experimentation of original situations resulting from research on the teaching-learning of multiplicative structures (multiplication and division). These situations are constructed in such a way as to lead students to learn mathematics, but also to learn to love mathematics.


Hélène Mathieu (Regroupement des cégeps de Montréal)
acceSciences, volet mathématique du projet Pour un Montréal Scientifique (acceSciences, mathematical part of the project Pour un Montréal Scientifique)

  • Target Age Group: Elementary and college students
  • Location: Montréal, underprivileged environment
  • Amount Allocated: $14,000

The acceSciences initiative of the Regroupement des cégeps de Montréal (RCM) allows students from twelve public CEGEPs and two universities on the Island of Montreal to volunteer their time to work with young people in elementary and secondary school educational settings through its projects. Our projects create opportunities for elementary and secondary school students to meet with students from various scientific and technological fields. The project Pour un Montréal Scientifique consists of accompanying elementary school teachers and their students in their learning of science and mathematics with the help of college and university students, among others. The purpose of this application is to consolidate and offer the activities of the mathematics component of the project Pour un Montréal Scientifique to 1,800 new students and 70 teachers from 12 elementary schools in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in six boroughs of Montréal for the year 2020-2021.


Ildiko Pelczer (Concordia University)
Community oriented action: MATH outreach activities

  • Target Age Group: All
  • Location: Montréal
  • Amount Allocated: $6,000

Outreach activities aim to bring a range of math-themed events to local communities in order to generate interest in mathematics, raise public awareness of the role of mathematics and contribute to the increase of numeracy levels of the general public, regardless of age. For school-aged participants, they give the opportunity to engage in an intellectual challenge. They also promote the visibility of mathematics, by showcasing real-life applications of mathematics along with popularizing important theoretical results. A foreseeable immediate effect of the outreach activities is the attitude of school-aged participants towards mathematics: envisioning it as accessible to the young mind, seeing it as a domain where curiosity, perseverance and engagement are rewarded by insights and the discovery of beautiful connections of ideas. A far-reaching effect of outreach activities is a change in public awareness about the role and importance of mathematics in everyday life.

We propose to develop a series of 15 hour-long outreach activities that cover a wide range of grade- levels and topics. These activities are meant to be implemented in schools through a close collaboration with the local community. Undergraduate and graduate students from the Mathematics and Statistics Department would be involved in the creation and carrying out of the activities, with the close direction of some of the department’s professors.


François Pomerleau (GRMS)
Une évasion mathématique (A mathematical escape)

  • Target Age Group: Secondary
  • Location: All regions of Quebec
  • Amount Allocated: $14,000

The GRMS notes a definite craze for escape-type games at its conferences and on social networks. The GRMS has therefore decided to invest in the creation of games that can be played in various schools in Quebec. Teachers will be able to reserve the sets of games and use them with their students for a predetermined period of time. The manufacturing costs will be entirely paid by GRMS (or in part with your help) while the transportation costs will be the responsibility of the schools. You will find attached the Défi-Évasion proposal as well as photos of projects they have already completed in the past. During the GRMS 2020 creation session, several puzzles (problems) will be prepared so that teachers will be able to offer turnkey game sets. This puzzle bank can be improved with the help of teachers who will use the sets with their students. In order to be ready for October, several dozen math puzzles (problems) will have to be prepared


Catherine Verret (Pedagogical Counsellor, Commission scolaire de la Capitale)
De l’école à la vie (From school to life)

  • Target Age Group: Students with autism
  • Location: Québec
  • Amount Allocated: $6,000

The objective of this request is to ensure that by June 2021, the teachers of the Cité's regional school will benefit from a dozen mathematics centres enabling them to make a link between the objectives of the CAPS program (aimed at making students functional on the work floor and in everyday life) and the PFEQ/Progression des apprentissages (addressing the mathematical aspect of these skills) using durable materials adapted to the requirements of modern life and the autistic clientele.


Some of these projects will begin in the fall of 2020.


For more information, visit En avant math! initiative's website