Hike Near Palo Alto

A great place to hike that is right near Palo Alto is Windy Hill, located in Portola Valley. Windy Hill is only a mere 9 miles from Palo Alto. It is the perfect place to take your family on a sunny afternoon for some fresh air and family fun. You can bring your dog on a leash, fly kites over the preserve or even bring a nice picnic. Your family may even run into a few horses on the hike up!

The Windy Hill Preserve was first recognized in 1980, and is now 1,335 acres. There are plenty of hikes of all different lengths, so you can go for a quick walk, or spend the whole day exploring what the preserve has to offer!

The views of the rolling hills are spectacular, but while you are hiking, feel free to ask your children these questions in order to add some math to the hike.

1) If the length of the hike is 8 miles, and you have already hiked 6 miles, what fraction of the hike do you have left?

2) If you walk at a pace of 4mph, how long will it take to complete the 8-mile hike?

3) When you get to the top of the hill, it is 3pm, if you have 4 more miles to hike and are walking at 2 mph, what time will you make it back down the hill?

Windy Hill is a nice outing for the whole family, and a great place to test your child on their math skills! For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website.

Amusement Park Near Menlo Park

A popular amusement park here in the Bay Area is California’s Great America. Opened in 1976, Great America is only 14 miles from Menlo Park! It has been the site of many films and has lots of fun rides.

One of the most popular rides is Flight Deck, which was opened in 1993 and performs several loops upside down! Another favorite ride at the park is the Centrifuge, which, just like the actual machine, spins people around in a circle and plasters them to the wall. Be careful, you might get dizzy!

Great America also has plenty of games to play and an entire water park to go to when it gets too hot for the rides!

Lets say you take your child to Great America, ask them these questions while at the park to include some math in your trip!

1) Each ticket to Great America costs $33 dollars. If you buy 2 tickets, how much change will you get if you pay with a one hundred dollar bill?

2) At the Panda Express in the park, a bowl of orange chicken and fried rice costs $5.99 and lemonade costs $1.29. If you buy two bowls and one lemonade, how much will it cost?

3) If you have 6 hours and 25 minutes to spend at the park, and you arrive at 10:30am, what time do you have to leave?

As you can see, Great America is an easy day trip from Menlo Park, and a great place to incorporate some math into your child’s day while they are having fun! For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website.

American Girl Dolls and Summer Math Camp

In exactly two weeks, there will be another raffle for an American Girl Doll! Here are the ways to earn tickets so that your child can win the raffle:

  1. Like Palo Alto-Menlo Park Mathnasium on Facebook (1 ticket)
  2. Follow Catherine Umana on Google Plus (1 ticket)
  3. Come in to the center for a free trial session (5 tickets)

This is a perfect opportunity to sign your child up for Mathnasium’s summer math camp! Not only will your child have a chance to win an American Girl Doll (or a gift card to the Apple Store, GameStop, or Black Diamond Sports), but they will also be in a great summer camp that will prepare them for the upcoming school year in math. At Mathnasium’s summer math camp, we will teach your child math in fun and engaging ways! Here are some math problems that relate to the raffle coming up:



  1. If you got your whole family to like Mathnasium on Facebook and follow Catherine Umana on Google Plus as  well as you and your 2 siblings came for a free trial session, how many tickets did you earn? (You have 7 people in your family)
  2. If you have 8 tickets in the raffle, what is your percent chance of winning if there are 60 tickets in the raffle in total?
  3. On average, an American Girl Doll costs $120. If you get an allowance of $5 per week, how much time would it take you to buy an American Girl Doll with your own money?

For more information about the American Girl raffle, check out the flier.

Enroll your child at Mathnasium’s summer math camp for an unforgettable summer. They will have loads of fun while learning and becoming stronger at math!

We hope to see your child this summer at Mathnasium’s summer math camp. For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark

Weighing Fall Foods With Palo Alto Kids

The Big Competition

palo alto acorn squash

The kids guessed the weight of this acorn squash at Palo Alto’s Mathnasium.

This week, Palo Alto’s Mathnasium decided to have a fun competition. We asked all of the kids to hold an acorn squash and guess how

much it weighs. The kids were allowed to use other objects, whose weights were known, to compare its

weight. The acorn squash

weighed a total of  2 pounds and 7.1 ounces. After all of the kids voted, four winners were announced. These winners were the closest to the squash’s true weight.

Weight Fun in Palo Alto

The competition we did is a great way to teach your child about weights. Take any fruit or vegetable found in your home, like pumpkins or sweet potatoes, and ask your child to guess how much it weighs. Let them compare the foods’ weight to other weights (like a gallon of milk or a candy bar). After they guess, weigh it and see if they came close to the food’s true weight. After, you can ask them to calculate how close they were (subtracting the food’s true weight from their guess). You can also ask your child to convert their answer from pounds to ounces, or from pounds to kilograms.

1 pound = .45 kilograms              1 pound = 16 ounces


Weighing different foods is fun and can help teach your child about weights!

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark!


Mathnasium and Fractions: How to Turn a Hard Topic into a Fraction of Cake

Fractions are hard. Many kids come to Mathnasium in Palo Alto to improve their fraction skills, and in turn, we provide our students with tons of practice, until they master the topic both conceptually and practically.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, fractions are essential to success in more advanced math, and not all methods of teaching fractions are equal! Rather than memorizing algorithms for addition and multiplication with fractions, students benefit more from understanding fractions in depth, and how they relate to each other, and only then jumping in to complete calculations.

Part of the new Common Core  standards requires mastering certain topics, and you can bet that teaching fractions well is one of the top priorities of this new curriculum! Just how pizzaandnumberlineimportant are fractions? According to the article,

A child’s knowledge of fractions in fifth grade predicts performance in high-school math classes, even after controlling for IQ, reading achievement, working memory, family income and education, and knowledge of whole numbers, according to a 2012 study led by Bob Siegler, a professor of cognitive psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.

The finding is based on long-term studies of a total of 4,276 students in the U.S. and Britain comparing their scores on math tests at ages 10 to 12, and again at ages 16 to 17, then controlling the results for differences in the children’s intelligence-test scores and family background. Researchers believe the reason may be that to master advanced math, students must broaden their understanding of how different kinds of numbers relate to each other, and how they must apply different rules as needed when working with different kinds of numbers.

So how can you help your children in master this challenging but important topic? Here in Palo Alto, we use methods like those of the Augusta, Ga. Mathnasium location highlighted in the article, as well as ideas tested in the research explained in the Wall Street Journal. Here are a few essential points:

  • Introduce problem solving only after students understand the meaning of the numerator and denominator of a fraction.
  • Use number lines to help students see differences in size.
  • Explain that denominators are the “name of a fraction”, rather than just the bottom number.
  • And most importantly, make sure that students don’t just learn math, but learn to enjoy it as well!

Learn more about Math Tutoring and Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park (and find more fun word problems) —  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark


Menlo Park Kids Enter Weekly Word Problem Cupcake Drawing

Everyone knows that is vitally important to practice math on a regular basis. Mathnasium of Palo Alto Menlo Park has recently introduced a fantastic way to encourage your children to practice working with word problems every week. Word problems can be one of the most daunting challenges math students face: according to Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park Owner/Director Cathy Umana, “Of elementary and middle school students, over 90% struggle with word problems.” If your child struggles with word problems, make sure you give them as much support as possible. Word problems are an important precursor to real life problem solving, so it is important that your child have a strong foundation.


Word Problems + Probability = Cupcake!



Motivate your kid to practice word problems with cupcakes!

Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In order to ensure your child overcomes this important hurdle, it is important to incorporate practicing word problems into your child’s routine. One great way practice word problems on a weekly basis it by going to the Mathnasium website and printing out the weekly word problems to do. Each week, 4 word problems are posted on the website, separated by grade level. Encourage your child to do the word problem at their grade level as well as the one above. What’s more, each week your child correctly answers a word problem, they are entered drawing for a free SusieCakes cupcake. This way, they are being challenged every week, not only by doing a word problem, something that the majority of students struggle with, but by stepping a little outside their comfort zone by doing a higher-level word problem. After a a month or two of doing word problems each week, your child will be well on their way to becoming an even stronger math student and an expert at solving word problems.

Mathin’ Catherin, April 4, 2013


Fun Menlo Park Math Tea Party

Math can be very challenging for kids who do not enjoy or struggle with math. Kids love having fun, and Mathnasium has used this finding to its advantage, teaching kids math in a way that is fresh and fun.

> Learn more about Math Tutoring in Palo Alto / Menlo Park

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 4/4/2013

Kids Love to Learn when Learning is fun!

One of the best way for kids to learn math is when they are having fun. That is part of the reason that mathnasium game nights have been so successful. What better way to learn math than by doing math with friends. We’ve seen great results in our students after they go to math game nights and able to socialize with their friends as well as practice their math skills. Besides, research shows that memories stick for longer periods of time when they are learned in association with smells or tastes. At the math game nights mathnasium hosts, kids get complimentary hot chocolate and pastries, so whenever they eat a pastry or drink hot chocolate, they are likely to remember the concepts learned when they were at game night!

Learn more about Mathnasium’s game nights: math game nights

Tea Party Game Nights near Atherton/Menlo Park

Every month, Mathnasium of Palo Alto – Menlo Park hosts a game night every month. Mathnasium is hosting a Tea Party Game Night at Cafe Zoe on Sunday, April 7, 2013 and we would absolutely love to see you there! Mathnasium students grades 2-5 are encouraged to come and bring their friends. Be sure to wear your top hat, fancy dresses and bring a British accent in your handkerchief! Kids will have the opportunity to try teas of different varieties and sample scones.


Celebrating Pi Day around Stanford

Pi Day is the most celebrated math holiday in the Universe! In Palo Alto, this number has special significance because of the presence of Stanford University and its outstanding math faculty. However, Pi Day isn’t just limited to professional mathematicians, it can be fun for kids too!

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 27, 2013

> Learn more about Math Tutoring in Palo Alto / Menlo Park

Pi Day Explained

Every math nerd knows that Pi Stanford University and Pi Dayis the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference. But there are a number of things that math lovers use Pi for, such as finding the area of circle and  modeling trigonometric functions. For those of you that aren’t math nuts, Pi Day falls on March 14th because the first three digits of Pi are 3.14. Just to be clear, the number Pi is a non-repeating, non-terminating irrational number – it never ends! So far, computers have calculated over 10 trillion digits, but for most people, 3.14 is enough.

Stanford and Palo Alto Events Celebrating Pi Day

At Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park, there will be great festivities to celebrate this wonderful day. We’re not yet sure exactly what will happen, but we plan on playing Pi-related games and throwing pies at our math instructors and math tutors. If you have any Pi-related tips or ideas, post them as a comment on this blog, or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear your ideas. At Stanford University, all-you-can-eat pie will be provided to students, and the school’s mathematics club will be hosting events.

As March 14 gets nearer, we will offer more creative math ideas to make Pi Day fun for children in Palo Alto. This holiday can be fun for everyone, aspiring mathematician or not!

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 2/25/2013

Math in Menlo Park- Invitation to the Tea Party Math Game Night

Looking for a way to get your kid motivated about math and have 2 hours to destress?

You’s invited to a fun game night here in Menlo Park at Cafe Zoe, hosted by Mathnasium Menlo Park Palo Alto.  Kids will enjoy a fun night of math bingo, division war, and free refreshments and prizes. Parents can hang out at the cafe, or have two hours of free time.

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 24, 2013

Menlo Park Math Tea PartyAbout Math Games at a fun Cafe in Menlo Park

Math can be challenging, but math games can help your child make math more fun and approachable. For example, one of the games we’ll play is called Division War. The game is played by taking a deck of cards. Both kids put down a card, and whoever says the answer first gets to keep the cards.

Parents get to hang out at Cafe Zoe, use the free wi-fi and watch their kids play. Or if you want you could do work, but the math games will be much more fun.

Time, Date and Place of this Menlo Park Tea Party

If you’re interested this free events, call Mathnasium at (650)-321-6284, or email paloalto-menlopark@mathnasium.com. Also, if possible, come in your tea party attire.

by Mathin’ Catherine