Christmas Counting in Menlo Park!

Hawaii for the Holidays

Menlo Park students, do you remember the childhood song, “head shoulders knees and toes”? Well, we are going to see if we can do some math with that song using a family holiday card from one of our Menlo Park students. One of our students took a family trip to Hawaii and sent us this beautiful card. We are going to take a closer look at this photo amidst the flowing waves, palm trees, and bright sky…

Get to Know Hawaii

How about for some fast facts about Hawaii, first? Welcome to the 50th state!

When it became the 50th US state in August 1959, Hawaii was the only US state to have two official languages: English and Hawaiian. Its capital is Honolulu, and Hawaii has its own time zone (Hawaiian Standard Time, or HST).  Furthermore, Hawaii doesn’t follow Daylight Savings Time (DST).  Some of the major Hawaiian traditions include: hula dancing, making leis, having luau feasts, and surfing. Some of the major industries in Hawaii include fishing, tourism, sugar cane processing, pineapple canning, and printing/publishing.  In terms of diversity, Hawaii is the most multiracial of any of the Unites States. Did you know that the Hawaiian word “aloha” can mean either “hello,” “goodbye,” or “love”?

Menlo Park to Hawaii for the Holidays!

Counting from Menlo Park to Hawaii

What a fun time our Menlo Park friends are having! Let’s count the “number of” in this picture:

How many fingers are in this picture?

How many toes?

How many kneecaps?

How many eyes?

How many pairs of swim goggles?

How many ears?

This fun photo has much to share with us! And, the math is fun and gives us another way of seeing the world around us!

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!

Palo Alto Tai Pan Problems

Tai Pan, the Chinese term for “top class”, is also the name of a Palo Alto restaurant that specializes in Hong Kong cuisine. This restaurant is located on Waverly in downtown Palo Alto, and serves many types of dim sum and authentic dishes. are you ready to try some Tai Pan problems? Here we go…


Tai Pan Problems:

1. If you go to Tai Pan with your family at 1:30 PM and you spend 15 minutes choosing what you want to order, 20 minutes waiting for your foo, and 45 minutes eating your food, what time do you and your family leave the restaurant? (A: 2:50 PM)

2. When you order food with your family, you decide to order 5 dim sum dishes and share them. The 5 dishes are:

  • Shitake Mushroom Sui Mai — $4.80
  • Crispy Salt & Pepper Calamari — $9.00
  • Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf — $5.80
  • Pan Fried Turnip Cake — $3.50
  • Chinese Broccoli in Oysster Sauce — $8.00

How much does the entire meal cost? ( A: $31.10) challenge: how much does everything cost once you add the 15% tip? (A: ~35.77)

3. The Shaghai Crab dish’s cost changes seasonally: it costs $14 dolars from September to April, and $11 from May to August. If you go to Tai Pan once a month for a whole year and order the Shanghai Crab every tie you go, how much do you pay for the food altogether? (A: 8 * $14 + 4 * $11 = $156)

4. You love the food at this Palo Alto restaurant so much that you decide to fly to Hong Kong for a trip! If the distance between here and Hong Kong is 6922 miles, and your flight is 13 hours 20 minutes long, what speed are you traveling at, in miles per minute? (A: ~ 8.65 miles/ minute)

Were you able to get all the problems?

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!





Christmas Math in Menlo Park at Mathnasium

Christmas is a fun and exciting holiday in Menlo Park (and in other places) because you get to spend time with family, exchange gifts, and relax. However, Christmas is more than just opening the presents under the tree.

The History of Christmas

Christmas is the day that Jesus was born. It is believed that Jesus was born from the Holy Spirit and he performed many miracles. In some cultures, they believe that Jesus was God’s prophet. Thus, when you celebrate Christmas, you celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Now, we celebrate by decorating a Christmas tree with lights and exchanging presents with loved ones.

Christmas Tree in Palo Alto

Christmas Tree in Palo Alto

Mathnasium Wishes You a Mathin’ Christmas

Christmas is a great day to practice some math skills. Here are some fun math problems to get your child in the holiday spirit.

  1. You have 5 red ornaments, 6 green ornaments, 8 blue ornaments, and 1 yellow star. How many ornaments do you have? What fraction of the ornaments are red? Green? Blue? Yellow?
  2. You are putting the ornaments on your tree. You have 50 ornaments total. You accidentally drop one and it shatters. Then your sister accidentally drops 3 ornaments. How many ornaments have not broken?
  3. You are making biscuits for your Christmas dinner. Each pan has enough space for 12 biscuits. You have 5 people in your family, but your aunt and uncle are going to celebrate with you too (7 people total). If each person is going to eat 3 biscuits. How many biscuits will you need to make? How many pans will you need to bake all of the biscuits?
  4. Your house is 50 yards by 50 yards. You have 5000 yards of lights. How many times can you wrap the lights around your house?
  5. Your Christmas tree has a radius of 30 inches and a height of 120 inches. What is the volume of the tree?
    (Volume = 1/3 * pi * radius² * height)

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!


Doughnut Math in Palo Alto

Happy Donut Math in Palo Alto

Palo Alto features a delicious doughnut bakery on El Camino. They have a wide range of tasty pastries like croissants, muffins, filled doughnuts, apple fritters, glazed doughnuts, and much more. I recently had a craving for doughnuts so I thought I would stop by. Since Christmas is coming up, I bought some Christmas themed donuts.

Delicious Donuts in Palo Alto

Delicious Donuts in Palo Alto

As I was there, I thought of some fun math problems to do with your child on your next doughnut run! Don’t forget to check out Happy Donut’s website:

Money Math

Give your child $10 and tell them to buy two doughnuts (one for you and one for your child). Lets say your child orders a filled doughnut that costs $3.50 and you want a glazed doughnut for $2.00. Ask your child these exciting math problems:

  1. How much money does the total order cost?
  2. If tax is 8.25% how much will the order cost?
  3. How much change will you get back from $10?

Now, Lets assume that your child also wants some hot chocolate. Hot chocolate costs $2.50.

  1. How much money will the total order cost now (with both doughnuts and the hot chocolate)?
  2. How much will it cost with tax?
  3. How much change will you get back from $10?

Geometry Math

A doughnut with no hole in the middle has a radius of 2.5 inches and a height of 1 inch.

  1. What is the circumference of the doughnut? (remember, circumference = 2 * pi * radius)
  2. What is the volume of the doughnut? (Volume = pi * r² * height)


For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!



Explore snowflake symmetry in the Bay Area

Here in the Bay Area, it might not snow…But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about snowflakes!

Snowflakes are pretty, and none are exactly the same, as you can see in these cool macro photos of various snowflakes. Though snowflakes are all different, they all make cool symmetrical hexagonal shapes. If you look at the snowflake below, you will be able to see the six sides of the snowflake, and how each section looks the same.

According to an article on Scientific American, snowflakes are symmetrical because of the arrangement of water molecules as they freeze. The structure of water molecules and the way snowflakes are formed cause the symmetrical hexagonal shape, but snowflakes are unique and elaborate, with crystals branching off in different directions, due to very different and complex conditions in the atmosphere.

Now that you know about the symmetry of a snowflake, you can try a symmetry game here, or make your own beautiful symmetrical snowflake by following the instructions below.


How to make your own hexagonal snowflake:

You will need:

  • a square piece of paper
  • scissors
  • glitter and markers (optional)

What you need to do:

  1.  Fold the paper in half on a diagonal, to make a triangle shape.
  2.  Fold this triangle in half as well, making a smaller triangle.
  3. Fold this triangle into thirds.
  4. Now, cut the top of the triangle at an angle.
  5. Cut away shapes from the sides, creating your design.
  6. Open up the snowflake and enjoy our creation!

These instructions can be confusing without pictures, so check out this instructable for more guidance!

You can enjoy the beauty of snowflakes, even if it doesn’t snow here in the Bay Area.

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!

Menlo Park Tea-Time Math with our Tutors at Mathnasium

British high tea arrangement.

British high tea arrangement.

Menlo Park Tea Locales

What is the best place for afternoon tea in Menlo Park?  It is at the Rosewood Hotel on Sand Hill Road! The Rosewood Sand Hill hotel is a luxury hotel near San Francisco AND San Jose.  It is in the heart of Silicon Valley, the high-tech gem of Palo Alto.  Your Menlo Park math students would have a ball at the afternoon tea served at the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel.

What a wonderful opportunity to enjoy tea with your Menlo Park math students.  Afternoon tea is generally a selection of finger sandwiches (small sandwiches that are usually eaten in a bite or two), warm scones served with clotted cream and fruit jam, home-made cakes and pastries, and a range of teas, with the most popular tea being an Earl Grey brew. The usual sandwiches served at afternoon tea are cucumber, egg mayonnaise and cress, smoked salmon with cream cheese, “Coronation” chicken, and ham and mustard. One popular style of afternoon tea is called “Cream Tea,” in which a pot of tea is served with scones, clotted cream, and fruit jam.

What’s in an afternoon tea?

To here are different types of tea served at a typical afternoon tea. The most popular are Assam (a malty tea from India), Darjeeling (an Indian tea with almond and flowery notes), Lapsang Souchong (a Chinese tea with a distinct smoky flavor), and Earl Grey (a quintessential British black tea scented with oil of bergamot).  Earl Grey tea is named after Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, the Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834.

Tea-time Math

Here’s some math to keep our Menlo Park math students busy during afternoon tea:

If one tea bag is used to make a pot of tea, and each pot of tea serves 5 people, how many tea bags must you purchase in order to host tea for your group of 25?

If your friends each eat 2 scones with clotted cream, how many cups of flour will you need to make the scones if each scones needs 1/4 cup of flour?

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!


Wonderful Menlo Park tea at the Rosewood Hotel

Wonderful Menlo Park tea at the Rosewood Hotel

Christmas Math in Menlo Park

Christmas problems!

Christmas is a-coming, and what better way to celebrate than by doing math? Here are some Christmas-themed problems that you can work on this winter, regardless of if you celebrate the holiday.

1. Calculate how much all of your presents cost if you got you these presents from a Menlo Park toy store:

  • A doll for $10.50
  • A skateboard for $500.39

2. If you get a car for Christmas, and you are 8 years old, how long will you have to wait to drive the car (assuming you can drive at 16 years old)?

3.  If you have 8 relatives come from the east coast to the Bay Area for Christmas dinner, and

  • 1 person eats 10 pounds of carrots
  • 3 people eat 2 pounds of cupcakes each
  • 1 person 1/2 a pound of broccoli
  • 2 people eat 3 pounds of pencils each
  • 1 person eats 7 pounds of pumpkin.

How many pounds of food do they eat in all? How many ounces is this?


Do you think you got them all? Comment your answers and we can tell you if you are correct.

Happy Holidays from Mathnasium in Menlo Park!

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!



Steve Jobs Comments on Technology in Education

Here in Palo Alto, many follow the cult of the late Steve Jobs. Well, maybe the term cult is a tad exaggerated, but it’s safe to say that many of us hold this icon’s products and vision close to our hearts. Steve Jobs, raised in Cupertino, founder of Pixar, CEO of Apple, was (and can still be considered to be) a huge figure in the Silicon Valley.

Jobs stood for the improved future that technology innovation can bring us. However, he believed that even technology is limited when it comes to education. In an interview in 1994, he discussed the importance of human teachers. Though this conversation took place almost 19 years ago, this issue is still hugely important and relevant. While Duolingo, Khan Academy, and endless other companies are trying to change the face of education, and machines do complete some tasks better than human teachers (such as quick grading), there is still immense value in being taught by a real life teacher.

According to Jobs, machines are limited because education is about much more than learning facts. He said,

“I absolutely don’t believe that technology is the most important thing….The most important thing (in education) is another person. Another person that guides your curiosity, that insights your curiosity, that feeds your curiosity. Machines cannot do that in the same way that people can. Computers are reactive…Kids need a guide, they don’t need an assistant.”

Though assistance is important (learning math), guidance is essential (learning to enjoy math an learning in general). While technology is a marvelous tool in education, and will surely improve even further, we must remember that humans cannot really be replaced….. For the time being, at least.

If you are interested in listening to more of Jobs’ ideas, you can watch the whole video here.

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!


Crepevine in Palo Alto

Last night, I was walking on University Avenue in Palo Alto and I passed the fabulous chain restaurant Crepevine. The aroma coming from Crepevine was irresistible; I had to peer inside.

Crepevine in Palo Alto

Crepevine in Palo Alto

Crepevine is an American restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have sandwiches, salads, savory and sweet crepes, french toast, scrambled eggs, omelets, pancakes, and more. Crepevine was made to be a restaurant that everyone will be able to find something to eat; they have food fit for the picky eater and for the person who loves to try new dishes.

As I was examining all of the delicious looking dishes, some math problems immediately popped into my mind. Next time you are on University avenue looking for something to eat, check out Crepevine! Also, if you bring your child, you can ask them these fabulous math problems!

One of Crepevine's sweet crepes

One of Crepevine’s sweet crepes

Crepevine Math

  1. On Fridays and Saturdays, Crepevine is open from 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM. Billy, an employee at Crepevine only works on Fridays and Saturdays. He has two shifts each day. His first shift is from 8:15 AM to 4:30 PM on Friday. On Saturday he works from 9:25 AM to 4:15 PM. How many total hours does Billy work? If Billy’s wage is $10.25 an hour, how much money does he make every week? How much money does he make every month?
  2. Susie lives 5.45 miles away from the first store on University Avenue. The first store on University avenue is 1.78 miles away from Crepevine. How far away does Susie live from Crepevine (in miles). If Susie’s dad drives her to Crepevine for lunch, and he drives an average of 25 miles per hour, how long will it take Susie and her dad to get to Crepevine (assuming all stoplights were green on their way).
  3. The whole family is going to Crepevine for breakfast! I got the La Suisse French Toast ($7.75), my brother ordered the buttermilk pancakes ($6.95) with blueberries ($1.50), my dad got the Spanish omelet ($9.75), and my mom got the El Paso Benedict ($9.95). How much did everything cost? How much was the tax (tax is 10%)? How much should you tip the server (12% tip)? How much did breakfast cost (including the tax and the tip)?

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!