Mayan Math for Palo Alto

Students of Palo Alto and Menlo Park are often taught the basic mechanics of mathematics, but are often ignorant of mathematics in history. This is the first article of a new series where we explore the achievements of various ancient civilizations in the noble field of mathematics. In this article, we will be examining the role of mathematics in the Mayan civilization of Central America. Here, we’ve compiled some facts that will hopefully pique the interest of your Palo Alto student.

The Mayans were most well known for their mathematical achievements in astronomy. The Mayans famously created an extremely accurate calendar based on planetary movements, in which math played a key component. Palo Alto students, go up to Rancho San Antonio or some nearby hills, and look up into the night sky! You’ll be seeing the same sky that the Mayans based their math off of.

The Mayans used a number system with base 20. As a result, much of their computational work would look much different from our modern-day Arabic-numeric system, with base 10. In other words, Mayan math students had to memorize a greater base (20 different numbers per base), double of any Palo Alto student!

The Mayans also developed the concept of zero, and there’s evidence that they worked with extremely large sums (up to hundreds of millions). Also, while there is no evidence that the Mayans used fractions, they were still able to determine extremely accurate astronomical calculations. These same calculations would undoubtedly send any Palo Alto student to a calculator!

We hope that Palo Alto students, upon reading about the Mayans, have been inspired to continue learning math!

Math Tutor / Tutoring - Palo Alto Menlo Park

For more ways to learn about math, visit Mathnasium’s website!

Coffee Shop Math in Palo Alto

Palo Alto has many different coffee shops and cafes. A Palo Alto favorite is Philz Coffee located on Forest Avenue. Its close proximity to Mathnasium (only 0.9 miles away) makes it the perfect place to take your child before or after their session at Mathnasium of Palo Alto – Menlo Park. What makes Philz so special is that they have a huge selection of different blends. Each blend contains several types of beans from all over the world, highlighting different flavor notes, such as spices, chocolate, plums, or apples. At Philz, you cannot order your regular cappuccino, but you can specify whether you want a light, medium, or dark roast as well as what type of milk or cream you want as well as how much sugar. If you do not like your cup, the barista who made your drink will gladly redo it. Since most children do not drink coffee, they can order a hot chocolate or tea as well as a delicious pastry.

coffee math tutoring


Philz also serves as the perfect place to quiz your child on his or her math skills. Next time you go to Philz, ask your child these questions:

  1. You order a large iced coffee ($5) and your child gets a large hot chocolate ($3). How much money does the total order cost? If you pay with a 20 dollar bill, how much change will you get back?
  2. Philz is only 0.9 miles away from Palo Alto – Menlo Park Mathnasium. If you drive there right after your child’s session at an average speed of 35 miles per hour, how much time will it take you to get to Mathnasium?
  3. If you walk after your lesson at a speed of 4.8 miles per hour, how much time will it take you to get to Philz?


For more problems and information about math tutoring near Redwood City, check out Mathnasium of Palo Alto – Menlo Park website.