Teaching Math with Units in Palo Alto: It’s Not Just the Numbers

When tutoring elementary school and middle school kids in math,  one of the most important concepts is that it’s not just the numbers that go in the answer. If you don’t have the right units, it’s not right! Fortunately, there are many ways that parents can give their kids math help in this important area around Palo Alto, and even make math learning fun at the same time!

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 25, 2010

> Learn more about Math Tutoring in Palo Alto / Menlo Park

Everyday Tasks can be Learning Opportunities

We use math a lot more than we think, even going about our daily activities. And when they’re presented in the right way, any normal routine can be an opportunity to give kids math help, especially when it comes to units. For example, say you’re filling up with gas on El Camino Real after picking the kids up from school in Palo Alto. Tell your child, “I bought 12 gallons of gas. How many pints of gas is that? How about how many liters?” (If you’re a bit rusty yourself, there are 8 pints in a gallon, and about 3.8 liters in the same amount.)

Palo Alto Units Math Help


When making a quick trip to Trader Joes or Whole Foods, use the chance to reinforce the units of money. If you spend $17.80 and pay with a $20, first make sure your child can figure out the change. Then, ask them how many nickels that would be, or dimes, or quarters. While tutoring Palo Alto children in math, coins are one of our most popular methods to teach converting units; you can give a little extra help in this same way!

Rewarding Math Math Makes it Fun!

Units can also be used when giving kids a fun treat, making learning fun and tasty.  Frozen yogurt is usually priced by the ounce, so if you’re stopping at Pinkberry in the Stanford Shopping Center or at Fraiche in downtown Palo Alto, have your child convert from ounces to pounds (or grams) before checking out. For another challenge, tell them that they can spend a certain amount, and have them calculate how many ounces they can buy.

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 2/25/2013

Celebrating Pi Day around Stanford

Pi Day is the most celebrated math holiday in the Universe! In Palo Alto, this number has special significance because of the presence of Stanford University and its outstanding math faculty. However, Pi Day isn’t just limited to professional mathematicians, it can be fun for kids too!

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 27, 2013

> Learn more about Math Tutoring in Palo Alto / Menlo Park

Pi Day Explained

Every math nerd knows that Pi Stanford University and Pi Dayis the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference. But there are a number of things that math lovers use Pi for, such as finding the area of circle and  modeling trigonometric functions. For those of you that aren’t math nuts, Pi Day falls on March 14th because the first three digits of Pi are 3.14. Just to be clear, the number Pi is a non-repeating, non-terminating irrational number – it never ends! So far, computers have calculated over 10 trillion digits, but for most people, 3.14 is enough.

Stanford and Palo Alto Events Celebrating Pi Day

At Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park, there will be great festivities to celebrate this wonderful day. We’re not yet sure exactly what will happen, but we plan on playing Pi-related games and throwing pies at our math instructors and math tutors. If you have any Pi-related tips or ideas, post them as a comment on this blog, or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear your ideas. At Stanford University, all-you-can-eat pie will be provided to students, and the school’s mathematics club will be hosting events.

As March 14 gets nearer, we will offer more creative math ideas to make Pi Day fun for children in Palo Alto. This holiday can be fun for everyone, aspiring mathematician or not!

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 2/25/2013

Math in Menlo Park- Invitation to the Tea Party Math Game Night

Looking for a way to get your kid motivated about math and have 2 hours to destress?

You’s invited to a fun game night here in Menlo Park at Cafe Zoe, hosted by Mathnasium Menlo Park Palo Alto.  Kids will enjoy a fun night of math bingo, division war, and free refreshments and prizes. Parents can hang out at the cafe, or have two hours of free time.

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 24, 2013

Menlo Park Math Tea PartyAbout Math Games at a fun Cafe in Menlo Park

Math can be challenging, but math games can help your child make math more fun and approachable. For example, one of the games we’ll play is called Division War. The game is played by taking a deck of cards. Both kids put down a card, and whoever says the answer first gets to keep the cards.

Parents get to hang out at Cafe Zoe, use the free wi-fi and watch their kids play. Or if you want you could do work, but the math games will be much more fun.

Time, Date and Place of this Menlo Park Tea Party

If you’re interested this free events, call Mathnasium at (650)-321-6284, or email paloalto-menlopark@mathnasium.com. Also, if possible, come in your tea party attire.

by Mathin’ Catherine

Atherton and Algebra Tutoring – it’s all about the A’s, the B’s, and the Game

Every parent worries about their kid getting A’s. Especially parents in Atherton, which is one of the highest stress regions of Silicon Valley. It’s all competitive and we might freak out if our child comes home with a B in Algebra, or even worse. But really it’s not just about the A’s in Algebra it’s about making algebra relevant to your child for the long term.

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 24, 2013

> Learn more about Algebra Tutoring in Atherton

Two B’s is Not Equal to Four A’s in Algebra

Algebra Tutoring and Atherton, CA


So from 8th grade to college may seem like a long time, but the reality is having a lot of B’s in Algebra is not going to be what your child needs to get into a top university like Stanford or Berkeley. So two B’s in two math classes are not as good as one A in a competitive class like algebra 2.

As a parent, you may not remember all your algebra beyond just 3 plus x = 7, and therefore solve for X and do the square root of twelve and wasn’t there something about PI, which was a movie.  Oh yea, so it’s 4.

But for your child the trick is to put algebra into perspective.

Making Algebra a Priority for Your Child

So one good trick, beyond finding a professional algebra tutor, is to drive your child to some of the nearby universities like Stanford, and show them just how incredibly fun it will be to be in college. Even if they hate math and algebra, you might have a little luck by informing them that Algebra is just a barrier.

~ Mathin’ Catherine


Math is All about Attitude – Tutoring your Palo Alto Child with a Positive Mathitude!

Parents, families, tutors… even kids are busier than ever these days! Especially in Silicon Valley, a.k.a Palo Alto, CA, near the Stanford campus (birthplace of Google and Yahoo)… Everything is hectic these days, but as we drive our kids hither and tither it is so important to have a positive attitude – not the least, about mathematics!

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 21, 2010

> Learn more about Math Tutoring in Palo Alto / Menlo Park

Kids Are Smart and Pick Up Our Attitudes; About Math (and Everything Else)

Kids are smart, really smart. And math is everywhere, and part of my blog is to share ideas and tips about tutoring your kids in math, whereever you are. Suppose you are on University Avenue in Palo Alto, busy as always… stuck in traffic. You might try a math game, like how many cars can cross the intersection in a minute, and then calculate the number of minutes you estimate it will take before your car crosses the intersection…

Palo Alto Traffic and Math Tutoring Attitudes


And then, someone cuts you off, and you scream or say some bad words, and you blurt out how frustrated you are – with life, with Palo Alto traffic, with how incredibly slow University Avenue is on a busy Friday, and you might even (Heaven forbid) admit that you didn’t exactly love math as a kid, and you’re glad your job has nothing to do with math!

Attitude is Everything, Especially with Respect to Learning Math

So back to math. Perhaps you don’t use math in your job today. Lots of folks don’t use math. But think back to when you were ten, or twelve, or fifteen. Perhaps you needed math tutoring in High School. Perhaps you even had an algebra math tutor, perhaps even in Palo Alto. But you didn’t know then what you’d be doing now.

You might not be using math, but your child might. They have their whole future ahead of them, and we don’t know what it will be. Maybe it will involve math, maybe it won’t.

But it will involve attitude. So don’t feel guilty about being stressed out!  That’s normal. Just try to impart to your kid that everyone gets tired, gets stressed out… but attitude is everything.

Now back to how many cars can squeak thru University Avenue lights on a busy Friday afternoon!

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 2/21/2013