Math with Fashion Shows in Atherton

One of our instructors recently participated in the Sacred Heart Prep Senior Fashion Show in Atherton. The fashion show helps raise money for the senior class at Sacred Heart Prep. Shopping for clothing is fun and clothing also can inspire price math problems! Shopping is filled with sales and discounts which all involve math.  The clothes were all provided by Gitane of downtown Menlo Park. Gitane is located on Santa Cruz Avenue and you can check out more of their clothing at

  1. If the shirt costs $80, the pants cost $180, and the jacket costs $150, how much does the whole outfit cost?
  2. If the shirt is 20% off how much does the shirt alone cost?
  3. If the jacket gets marked down 10% how much does the jacket cost?
  4. If you bought the whole outfit together during a special sale, the store will give you 25% off, how much does is the entire outfit during a special sale?
  5. Which is a better deal? Receiving a $20 coupon for the pants or 10% off the pants?

Sacred Heart Fashion Show

Hey, math and Stanford Fans! Try some football word problems

Here in Palo Alto, there are a lot of Stanford fans.  Stanford has one of the best college football teams in the country, coming in at  #5 in the rankings this week.  They have a flawless record of 3-0 after beating San Jose State, Army and Arizona State.  However, 19 of the top 25 teams have not lost a game this year, and all of them have 3 or more wins.

Stanford math word problems

Stanford math word problems

So why is Stanford number 5 and not number 25 like Fresno State, who is also 3-0?  Here at Mathnasium, because we are near Stanford, we are working to figure out how these rankings work.  Many different variables go into deciding who will be ranked, and what they will be ranked.  These include points scored, points allowed, strength of schedule, yards gained, yard allowed, and many more.  We will try to begin figuring these rankings with a few word problems. Can you help us by solving these word problems?

Here are the fun Stanford math word problems:

1. Stanford scored 34 points in their first game, 34 points in their second game and 42 points in their most recent game.  How many total points have they scored so far this season?

2.  Stanford’s opponents have scored 13, 20 and 28 points.  How many total points has Stanford allowed?  How many more points have they scored than they have allowed?

3.  Oregon has scored 66, 59, and 59 points, respectively in their first 3 games. They are ranked #2 in the country.  How many total points has Oregon scored?  How many more points has Oregon scored than Stanford?

4.  Find the average number of points that both Stanford and Oregon score per game.  To do this, take the total number of points that you already calculated, then divide by the number of games, 3.

Challenge Word Problem for extra smart Stanford kids:

5.  Pretend the rankings are based completely on points scored.  If Oregon scores 27 points in their 4th game against Cal, how many points would Stanford need to score in their game in order to overtake Oregon in the rankings?

At Mathnasium, we are more focused on math than football.  But, if we did have a football team, we would know exactly how to be #1!

Learn more about Math Tutoring and Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park (and find more fun word problems) —


Stanford study on how well children respond to math tutoring

Have you ever wondered, “will math tutoring really help my child improve at math?” While almost every child can benefit from the closer instruction provided by tutoring, some kids respond better to tutoring and are able to learn more at an even faster pace. And according to a recent study at Stanford University, how well your child responds to math tutoring may depend more on their brain’s wiring than their IQ score.

By using an fMRI to measure blood flow in the brain, researchers discovered that the students who improved the most when tutored tended to have a larger hippocampus (the part of the brain that is central to forming  and organizing memories). Another indicator of success was the strength of the links between different parts of the child’s brain.

What’s so important about this study?

Though this information will not make your child a math genius right away, this Stanford study will have a huge influence on early education in the future! These discoveries suggest that math skills are not based on innate talent, but rather, that acquiring learning skills at an early age is the most significant way to improve math abilities later on.

So what can you do to improve your child’s math skills and their response to tutoring? Well, teach them to learn, rather than to drill facts into their memories. Here at Mathnasium, we will try to do the same.

Learn more about Math Tutoring and Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park (and find more fun problems) —

Digging to China with Bay Area Children

For many decades, children all around the world, like in the bay area, have been trying to dig a hole in their backyard that would get them to China. After countless tries, most children realized that digging all the way to China is way to difficult and may even be impossible. So, the question we ask is: Is it possible to dig to china?



If you wanted to dig from your backyard, all the way to China, you would need to dig for about 8,000 miles. That is equivalent to 140,800 football fields, 3 Americas lined up side by side, and approximately 81100805 king sized Hershey bars laying side by side.

Not only is 8,000 miles really, really far, but digging to China also leads to other complications. The more you dig towards the center of the Earth, the hotter it will get. According to this website the center of the Earth is approximately 10,000 F, which is way too hot!

So, in reality, it is far too complicated to dig to China, but if you want, you should try it!

Before you do, try out these fun math problems!

  1. If you are 5,000 miles into the earth, how many more miles do you have to dig in order to get to the other side of the world? (8000 miles TOTAL to get to the other side)
  2. Yesterday you dug 20 miles, today you dug 12 miles, and tomorrow you plan on digging 31 miles. How many total miles did you dig?
  3. If you are 4 feet and 11 inches, how many ‘yous’ would make up 8000 miles?


Learn more about Math Tutoring and Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park (and find more fun problems) —


Back to School Math in Menlo Park

It’s that time of year again. The summer is fading away and it appears that school will soon be back in session. Families flock to get school supplies and children can’t wait to figure out who will be in their classes. However, going back to school is also a great time to brush up on your math skills with some back to school math problems. From school supplies to getting some fall and winter clothes shopping is full of math will decimals and percents. With children, teachers and classes, back to school is a great way to incorporate fractions and ratios into math problems. So let’s get started!

Lower Elementary School Math Problems

  1. If Max goes to Staples to buy school supplies for the new school year and buys 3 pencils for $1 each and two erasers for $2 each how much did he spend?
  2. Anna goes to get a new pair of jeans and a new pair of shoes for school. The total was $55 and the shoes were $20. How much were the jeans?
  3. If Amy finds out there are 25 students in her class (including her) and there are 14 girls in her class, how many boys are in her class?

Upper Elementary School Math Problems

  1. Mark wants to figure out what time he has to get up in the morning. School starts at 8:30. It takes him half an hour to get to school, 5 minutes to get dressed, 12 minutes to eat breakfast, and 3 minutes to floss and brush his teeth. He also uses 10 minutes to get his backpack and make sure all his homework is done. What time must he wake up?
  2. Susan is looking at her classes. There are 30 students in her class (including her). She finds out that 40% of the students in her class are girls, what number of students are boys?
  3. Tara is going school supplies shopping, she wants to get 3 mechanical pencils at $2.50 each, a ruler for $0.99 and 2 pens at $1.50 each. How much is her total? How much is her total is she has a 10% off coupon?

Middle School Math Problems

  1. Lindsey is making cookies for her friends at school. She used 1 cup of flour, 2/3 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and an 1/8 cup of butter.  How many cups did she use total? If she doubled the recipe?
  2. If Lindsey decided to use a bigger recipe and it made 520 cookies and her family ate 35% of the cookies. How many cookies are left? If half of the remaining cookies were given to Lindsey’s grandparents how many are left?
  3. If Lindsey ate all the cookies and decided to make 100 brownies how many different bag combinations can she make?
Back to School Math Menlo Park

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Lower Elementary School

1. $7    2. $35    3. 11 boys

Upper Elementary School

1. 7:30    2. 18 boys  3. $11.49, $10.34

Middle School

1. 2  1/24 cups    2. 338 cookies, 169 cookies   3. 5 different combinations

Saving Menlo Park with Math

The weather in the Bay Area is some of the best in the world.  You could go to Menlo Park at any time of year and you probably wouldn’t be able to guess the season.

Unfortunately, environmental issues like global warming and climate change might ruin that.  So we decided that instead of just helping kids with math, we would help the world too! Now, Mathnasium is going green and printing on both sides of pages.  You can thank us later.



Fortunately, we are not only doing this for the weather.  There is plenty of math involved as well.  Here are few word problems you can try to help us save the planet.

  • At Mathnasium, the hard-working kids use up 1,200 sheets of paper every day.  Well, they used to, before we switched to double-sided pages.  Now, if they use both sides of every page, how many sheets of paper will they use per day?


  •   If we use the same number of sheets per day, 5 days a week, then how many sheets of paper are we saving every week?


  • Challenge: Last week, 348 double-sided sheets of paper were used up by diligent Menlo Park students.  This week, the printer malfunctioned and only 3/4 of the pages printed on both sides.  If the students do exactly the same amount of work this week, how many sheets of paper will be used up?

Mathnasium loves saving the world and Menlo Park, but we ran into some problems.  Because we used to use the back side of the sheets as scratch paper, we are now running out of scratch paper. Thankfully, it is nothing that math can’t solve.  A few word problems should do the trick.

  • Each student uses 2 pieces of scratch paper in a day’s work.  If 25 students came to the Menlo Park Mathnasium on Thursday, how many pieces of scratch paper will be needed?


  • Assuming the number of students remains constant at 25, how many pieces of scratch paper do we need to buy in order to supply the students for a 30-day month but use as little paper as possible (we still want to keep the weather in Menlo Park perfect)?


  • Challenge: We have 493 sheets of paper left.  We want to make sure we have at least 127 sheets left over for scratch paper.  The math packets we want to print are 8 pages long, and we will print on both sides of the paper.  How many packets can we print and still have enough sheets left over for scratch paper?

Besides what Mathnasium done, there are plenty of ways that math contributes to saving the world.  Everyone could use math to figure out how much they are polluting the atmosphere, and we could use math to figure out how much energy we save, too!