Money Math – Your Bay Area Child’s New Allowance

Allowance for Bay Area Elementary School Children


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I recently stumbled across and they had a great idea to help children learn math by giving them an allowance. For kids in elementary school, parents should tell them that their allowance is 50 cents multiplied by their age per week. By doing this, your child will learn all sorts of math skills like: counting money, value of coins, fractions, and much more. You  should help your child save their money, and once it seems like they have a significant amount amount of money, have your Bay Area child count how much they have.

Now, you can ask your child to:

  1. Count how many dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies there are
  2. Count how much money they have
  3. Calculate how much money they have until a certain value

Practice problems:

  1. Riley is 9 years old. If he gets paid 50 cents times his age every week, how much money does he get paid every week?
  2. Riley has $18.00 in his piggy bank. He wants to use his money to buy a toy that costs $21.99. How much money does he need?

    Mom teaching son to save money

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Allowance for Bay Area Middle School Students

Once your child is in middle school, you can start setting a constant dollar amount as your Bay Area child’s allowance, or give your child a certain amount of money for each chore they do. Using this system you can help teach your child how to save their money and you can give them harder math problems!

Practice Problems:

  1. Camille is 14 years old living in the Bay Area. Her parents decided to give her an allowance based on her chores. If she washes the dishes, she gets $0.50. If she makes her bed in the morning, she gets $1.00. If she waters the plants, she gets $3.00. If she vacuums, she gets $2.25.
    This week, Camille washed the dishes 3 times, made her bed 4 times, watered the plants twice, and vacuumed once. How much money did Camille make this week?
  2. Billy is Camille’s brother, and he has the same allowance plan as his sister, and the same chores. He is saving his money so that he would be able to buy a video game that costs $42.50. If he does each chore everyday, how many days does he have to do every chore until he can afford the video game?

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Edible Math in Menlo Park

The wait is over! We know you have been anticipating this for a long time…. alas, you can now enjoy the glorious pleasures felt with math during meal times. It’s called edible math. Here at Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park, we take every chance we get to enlighten a regular sandwich into a “tanwich”. What is a tanwich? According to Bedtime Math, a math blog, a tanwich is a tangram sandwich, a new venture in combining the realms of math with food.

How does one create a Tanwich?

Tangrams are Chinese geometric puzzles involving seven different shapes all creating a square and rearranging them to assemble a completely new design. Tangrams are great for learning about different shapes and improving students’ thinking techniques.

Here are the steps:

  1. Make a regular sandwich

  2. Cut the crusts off in order to make your sandwich a perfect square

  3. Cut the sandwich into 7 different pieces. The pieces should be two large triangles, one medium triangle, two small triangles, a square, and a parallelogram. You can cut the sandwich into any design you want.

Once you have your tanwich, you can start rearranging your edible design into a variety of geometric patterns. Need inspiration? Check out this awesome blog with their own tanwich designs. However don’t stop with just sandwiches, try to turn as many foods as you can into tangram designs.

For more fun math activites and to learn more about math tutoring in Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park go to

Edible Math Menlo Park

Palo Alto Pizza Fun!

Pizza is a staple all over the world: Italy, New York, Chicago, you name it! Here in Palo Alto, we love our pizza as much as anyone else. We have Palo Alto Pizza Company, Pizza Chicago, Pizza My Heart, California Pizza Kitchen, and many more pizza joints around.

So we love pizza….. but can we do math with it?

Of course we can! We can do math with anything here in Silicon Valley. Try and see if you can do these fun pizza problems…

Pizza Problems

  1. If you cut a pizza pie into 4 pieces, and your friend Karla eats 8/49 of it, and your friend Noa eats 1/7 of it, how much of the  pizza is left? 34/49
  2. You bake a huge pizza with a radius of 57 inches! What will be the circumference and area of the pizza you bake?  If the pizza is 3 inches thick, what will be the volume of your pizza?
  3. You and your parents decided to get pizza for all the instructors at Mathnasium Palo Alto-Menlo Park.  There are 11 instructors at our center, 3 will eat 2 slices of pizzas each,  5 will eat 3 slices of pizzas each, and 3 instructors will eat just 1 slice of pizza each. If each pizza pie has 8 slices, how many pies will you need to bring to feed us all?
  4. If the first pizza you buy costs $13, and every pizza after the first costs $7, how much will it cost to give all the instructors pizza?

We hope you liked solving these problems, enjoy your Palo Alto pizza and make sure to check the answers below!


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1. : 34/49

2. : circumference: 357.96  in , area: 10,201.86 in ^2, volume: 30,605.58 in ^3

3. : 3 pies

4. : $27

Game Night with Mathnasium in Palo Alto

Mathnasium’s Game Nights are a unique way to excite our students about math, while creating a fun social experience that includes much more than numbers and pencils. On Friday,  August 16, Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park hosted a Game Night at Philz, a well known Bay Area coffeeshop that has not one, but two locations in Palo Alto. The night was a true success, as many kids attended to drink delicious hot chocolate and play math games with friends!

The theme of the night was the Croods, a recent film released by Dreamworks, and many students really took this caveman way of living to heart! One student, an incoming second grader, told me that her favorite game of the night was Prehistoric Pig, and was excited to win a stuffed version of a character from the movie in our raffle drawing. Another student admitted that he did not have a favorite math game in particular, but enjoyed seeing friends and drinking hot chocolate at Philz.

One of our sixth graders brought the Croods theme to life by dressing up as a cave-woman! Check out her costume below:











Isn’t that cool?!

Now that this Game Night is over, we at Mathnasium are already looking forward to the next time we get to host such a fun educational event. Do you have any ideas for what the theme of our next Game Night should be? We would like to hear feedback and tips from our readers, and encourage you to also dress up to the next Game Night (or to your next session at Mathnasium).

Thanks to Philz for hosting us, and thank you all for participating on Friday. See you next time!

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Summer Number Game: Math in Atherton

In Atherton, number games are more fun!

Over summer, practicing math doesn’t have to come hand-in-hand with boring worksheets and times tables. Try this fun number game with your Atherton kids to get them pumped for math over summer and excited for school in fall! And if your kids aren’t the “math-is-so-fun” types, they’ll at least get in some good problem-solving time over the break.

Pico, Fermi, Bagel: The ultimate number game puzzle

Pico, Fermi, Bagel is a super fun game for in the car, at the dinner table, or any old time.

Either two people can play (thinker and guesser), or there can be one thinker and multiple guessers, taking turns to guess the number first.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The thinker begins by thinking of a number with however many digits are decided. The number should have no repeating digits (we’ve never tried with repeating digits, anyway).
  2. The guessers take turns guessing the number; or if there is one guesser, she or he can just continue guessing.
  3. To each guess the guessers make, the thinker will respond with one of the following hints:
  • If the guess has no correct digits, the thinker will call: “Bagel”
  • For each correct digit in the wrong place, the thinker will call: “Pico”
  • For each correct digit in the correct place, the thinker will call: “Fermi”

For example: As the guesser, if you guess the number 562 and you receive the clue “Bagel, Fermi, Fermi,” you know your number contains two digits that are in the number but not in the correct place. The trick is that you won’t know to which numbers the clues apply. (Or the thinker can just say “Fermi, Fermi”– the meaning stays the same, sans “Bagels.”)

For more fun math number games, check out Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park:

Atherton number game

Find Half of Any Number!

At Mathnasium, we try to have a process for every concept we teach students. Using a process to solve problems helps students understand mathematical ideas, and gives them the magical abilities of doing math in their head! Finding halves of numbers is especially confusing for many students, but also equally important when advancing in math and in developing mental math skills.

Our process for finding halves of numbers goes like this:

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Using Roman Numerals

Here at Mathnasium, we use Arabic numerals. Arabic numerals use the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 to form any number we could come up with. However, who said these were the only type of numbers we could use to do math?

What?! You can use other numbers that aren’t actually numbers to do math? … Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true!

Another type of numerals that you might have heard of are Roman Numerals. They look like this:

Roman Numerals were in use thousands of years ago, before the digits we use today were even invented! Even though the use of Roman Numerals declined as they ere replaced by the current system, around the 14th century, they are still useful to know.

Today, Roman Numerals are generally used on buildings, clocks, in books and even in chemistry and music theory. So, how do you read these unique numbers? Watch this video to find out! Warning, you might have to do some light math to figure these numbers out.


Now that you know how to read Roman Numerals, can you find any around Palo Alto, Stanford, or Menlo Park? Look around, and you may surprised at how many examples of Roman Numerals you discover!

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How to Recognize Rational Numbers

How can you tell when a number is rational? Is 31/37 rational? Is the square root of 15 rational? HOW DO YOU KNOW?

To start off, a rational numbers means a number that is able to be displayed as a fraction. For example, the number 0.837837837837837837837837… might not look like it would be able to be displayed as a fraction, but it actually is! Surprisingly, that number is 31/37 in decimal form! Now, if you ask yourself the questions below, you will always be able to tell whether a number is rational or not.


  1. Is the number a whole number?
  2. Is the number a fraction?
  3. Is the number a repeating decimal?
  4. If the number is being square rooted, is it a perfect square?

If the answer to one of these questions is yes, then the number is rational.

What are some examples of irrational numbers? π, or Pi, is an irrational number, as it does not follow any of the rules above.  The number π is 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974… and goes on and on forever, never repeating.

Knowing the difference between rational and irrational numbers is important, and you should pay attention to what type of number you are using when making calculations! For example, when finding the area of a circle, you could leave your answer as 30π, or calculate 30 * 3.14, which equals 94.2 . While 30π is more accurate, 94.2 gives you a better idea of what this figure is actually close to.

These questions will help you classify any number as rational or irrational, and aid you in math class and beyond. Good luck, and make sure to think rationally.

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