Wizard Word Problems in Palo Alto

In Anno’s Magic Seeds, Mitsumasa Anno cleverly weaves mathematics into a story of Jack, a wizard, and a plant. At the beginning of the story, the wizard gives Jack two seeds and tells him to eat one seed and plant the other seed. In the fall, the planted seed is supposed to grow and give Jack two more seeds. As the child follows the story of Jack and his magic plant, Anno asks the child to draw upon their knowledge of addition, subtraction,and multiplication. The author asks questions that you can solve with your child to keep them engaged in the story and learning math. The math problems get progressively more difficult as the story goes on and the seeds continue to reproduce. Anno’s Magic Seeds teaches children that math can be fun, practical, and profitable. Anno encourages you to plant the seeds of knowledge in your child and allow them to multiply. Anno’s Magic Seeds is a fun and exciting way to introduce word problems and basic operations to your child. For parents with children in the Palo Alto/ Menlo Park area, I recommend heading to the Books Inc. at Town and Country or Kepler’s and picking up this wonderful read.

For more fun ways to learn math, visit the Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.

Word problem math book for Palo Alto

Photo from Amazon.com

How does a wave work?

Here in Redwood City, we live just a few short miles from the beach. The beach is full of sand, sun, fun, and of course, waves! You like to play in the waves, but have you ever wondered how they really work? In fact, all waves work in the same way– whether sound, light, or beach waves– and this fact is just another phenomenon that can be explained by math!


In order to truly understand waves inside out, you first need to know the parts of a wave. The crest is the highest part of a wave, while the trough is the lowest. A wavelength is the distance between either two crests or two troughs, and lastly, the height of a wave is the vertical distance between the crest and the trough. Meanwhile, the period is the time it takes for an entire wavelength to pass one stationary point. This means that if you are sitting out in the water, and it takes 6 seconds between the two highest parts of the waves to pass you, the period of this wave is 6 seconds! Next time you head out of Redwood City towards the beach, remember this fact and count it yourself!

The next thing you should know about is the speed of a wave!

Since we already know that speed = distance/ time, we can figure out the wave’s speed! “How?”, you ask, “We don’t know either the distace or the time.” Well, yes we do, but in the form of the wavelength and period. The wavelength is the distance value, and the period is the time value. Therefore, you can also calculate the speed of a wave by using the formula speed = wavelength / period. Just make sure to head out of Redwood City with a measuring tool in hand!



Want more? Make sure to check out our other posts about summer camps around the bay area. In addition to registering for cool camps, don’t forget to leave time for relieving summer “brain drain” at Mathnasium this summer! Visit our website at  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark

Medieval Math Myth (at your local Menlo Park Library!)

learn math fun menlo park atherton palo alto tutor


Imagine a classic medieval kingdom with stone castles, powerful kings, endless banquets,… and lots of math! In Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander, King Arthur’s knights use geometry to find the perfect table around which to seat themselves! With clever puns and delightful illustrations, this book is sure to keep you smiling and entertained. While this colorful picture book is worthy just for its amusing plotline, it is sure to help teach you something about math as well! In this book, you’ll learn about some basic shapes such as rectangles, diamonds, ovals, and octagons, and also discover some ways in which you can create these shapes by rearranging others. The description of each shape is creatively done, and the visual representations are all clear and helpful. Whether you’re looking for a painless introduction to geometry, a pleasant tale concerning the medieval ages, or an educational experience, this book is sure to suit your tastes! Visit your local Menlo Park or Atherton library to pick up this math book!

For more tips on learning math, visit www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark

Menlo Park Mathnasium to the beach!

It’s the middle of summer, so what better time to go to the beach? If you are trying to choose which beach to go to, you might want to consider how far the beach you want to visit is from Menlo Park! Going to a further wastes gas and time, so let’s look at a couple beaches around the area and compare their distances!

Half Moon State Beach

According to Google maps, Half Moon State Beach is only 22.3 miles away! However, it takes 39 minutes to drive there. How many miles per hour do you have to drive in order to get there in this amount of time? How many kilometers away is this beach, if each mile is 1.6 kilometers?

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

If you are bored by calmness of the waves and are looking for a thrill, check out the Santa cruz boardwalk! The boardwalk is 45.7 miles away from our address in Menlo Park, and it takes 1 hour 14 minutes to drive to. What is the miles per hour rate for this trip? Is this the same speed you travel to Half Moon Bay? If you drive down to Santa Cruz on a busy day, and have to drive 35 miles per hour the entire way, how much time would it take you to get to the boardwalk from Menlo Park?

Both of these beaches are not to far from Menlo Park for a day trip, but there are lots more beaches around the Bay Area, and maybe you can explore and find several that are even closer! Enjoy the sand and waves, and don’t forget to put on sunscreen!

Want more?  Visit our website at  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark

The Stanford Oval Math is Fun!

Math is fun and how amazing would it be if you saw Stanford’s very green Oval and were able to calculate its area? This is a very real math problem that we can pose to our Stanford math students because math is fun.

Finding the area of an oval is more like finding the area of a rectangle than like finding the area of a circle, believe it or not! We first start by finding the length (L) and width (W) of the oval. Then we multiply the two values (L x W) and then multiply the result by 0.8 to obtain the final result. This final result is the area of the oval. What a neat formula! Math is fun.

So,we can safely say that math is fun. And there are many things you can do to find fun math problems in Stanford, especially for our Stanford math students.  For example, one can calculate the area or perimeters of other things on Stanford’s campus. We have some ideas here: calculate the height of buildings given their volume, width, and length.  This leaves one variable to find in the equation.  Now, we can also calculate the distance from Jamba Juice to Panda Express.  First, start at Jamba Juice and take single steps, with one foot right behind the other.  Then, walk all the way to Panda Express and recall the number of steps you took. Then, measure your foot in inches, and multiple that number by the number of steps you took. This gives you the distance in inches. To calculate the distance in feet, divide by 12.

Finally, we can calculate the height of the Stanford tower, which is named the Hoover Tower, and find that math is fun.  There is no doubt that math is fun when we take it to the Stanford University campus.

For more fun math tips in Palo Alto, check out Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park: http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark

Stanford math is fun

Math is fun!

Summer Math Camp in Palo Alto

Mathnasium’s summer math camp is a great camp for your child to attend because it will help them excel in math. This summer math camp will ensure that your child doesn’t forget all of the previously learned math skills, therefore, when they go back to school, they will be prepared for their math class. At Mathnasium, we will help your child in areas they are struggling in as well as teach them new tips and tricks. Unlike other summer camps, your child does not have to go everyday to this one. In fact, you get to choose the times and dates your child attends.

A great way to quiz your child on their math skills is actually by teaching them a little bit of history. Since Mathnasium’s summer math camp is located in Palo Alto, you can tell your child why Palo Alto is called Palo Alto. In Spanish, “Palo” means stick and “Alto” means tall. Together, “Palo Alto” translates to tall tree. summerblog5This is because of the city’s landmark – the redwood tree which is one of the tallest trees in the world. El Palo Alto is the name of the famous redwood tree that Palo Alto was named after. El Palo Alto is 110 feet tall, 90 inches in diameter, and is currently 1,015 years old. This historical landmarks makes for some perfect math questions to quiz your child on:

  1. If I am 5 ‘6″ (5 feet and 6 inches) tall, how many “mes” would I need to stack on top of the other so that my height would equal El Palo Alto’s height?
  2. What is the volume of the tree trunk? (Volume = pi * radius * radius * height)
  3. What year was the tree born on?

As you can see, Palo Alto’s history makes for some perfect math questions.

Want more? Make sure to check out our other posts about summer camps around the bay area. In addition to registering for cool camps, don’t forget to leave time for relieving summer “brain drain” at Mathnasium this summer! Visit our website at  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark

Bay Area Math Fun with Fireworks

As you may know, the 4th of July is coming up, and here in the Bay Area, we like to celebrate America’s Independence Day the traditional way… fireworks!

Everyone knows that fireworks make pretty patterns in the sky and are used for celebrations, but what are fireworks, really?

Fireworks are a package of chemicals that is shot into the air, causing the chemicals to explode and create the patterns we enjoy! Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. In order to prevent fireworks from hurting those in the audience, firework-show designers must use complex math to plan the trajectory of the exploding material.

When a firework is shot into the air, it becomes a projectile, travelling in a predictable path through space. The firework flies up at an angle, slowing down as it fights gravity until it reaches a peak height (where it explodes), and falls back toward the ground at the same speed and angle in which it was shot.

The path that flying objects take in the air can be modeled by a graph called a parabola. You can see parabolas whenever you throw anything into the air. For example, a tennis ball. Here are a couple of pictures of what this looks like:


When you watch fireworks at this summer’s 4th of July celebration, think about this and notice how the firework’s follows this pattern as it travels through the air. Have a great, mild Bay Area summer!

Want more? Visit our website at  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark