Fall in Atherton

Fall–or autumn, depending on what you want to call it–is here in Atherton! The leaves turning beautiful colors, slightly cooler weather, the start of the school year, Halloween, and Thanksgiving are just a few of the reasons that fall is beloved by many. Particularly in Atherton, where the weather gets especially mild and nice during this season, many people love to get out and do things during fall. Now that we are well into the season, here are some fun, educational facts about this period of the year!

Math Tutor / Tutoring - Atherton, CA - Mathnasium

1. The term “fall” first came to be used in 16th century England due to the Middle English phrases “fall of the leaf” and “fall of the year.”

2. Instead of “autumn,” people in New England used to call this season “backend.”

3. In the Southern Hemisphere, Easter takes place during fall!

4. The beautiful aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, tends to be visible during this time of year. This is because geomagnetic storms, which produce them, are about twice as likely to occur during the fall as a result of the colder weather.

5. The first day of autumn is the autumnal equinox. During this day, in Atherton and around the world, the number of hours of darkness exactly equals the number of hours of daylight.

We at Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park hope that you have a fun-filled fall! For more fun ways to learn math, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.


Music Math Fun for Atherton

With September already here, our Atherton students are finding their rhythm back in school! This week, our staff at the Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park have come up with some music-themed math problems. Whether it’s finding new artists and songs to listen to, or going to a concert with your friends, music is a great way to kick back and relax. Here are three fun, music-related math word problems for our Atherton students to do this week!

1. Brendan wants to buy five of his favorite songs on iTunes. Each song costs 99 cents, and his mom gave him $4.50. Does Brendan have enough money to buy the songs he wants?

2. Julia and her eight friends are going to an Atherton summer music festival together. Julia’s family owns 2 cars, each of which can seat 5 people. Will everyone be able to get a ride to the summer music festival?

3. This summer, Martin and his band want to record in their local Atherton studio. Each hour in the studio costs $100, and they want to book 3 hours. How much will that cost in total?

Hope these summer music-related word problems were fun to figure out! We hope you have an exciting, music-filled summer! For more fun ways to learn math, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.


Addition Practice in Atherton

Domino Addition by Dr. Lynette Long is a fantastic way to practice addition that makes young children feel like they are playing! This book will also help develop your child’s problem-solving skills without even leaving your home in Atherton! You can even play dominoes with your child after reading this book and throw in math questions as they go using this book as inspiration. By practicing math with this book, your child will learn how to count up to twelve. Each page has your child add up the dots on the dominoes as well as identify which dominoes have a specified number of dots on them. Once your child builds a solid foundation of adding to twelve, you can move on to more complex addition. This book is more geared toward children who are learning to add or who need extra review with basic addition. The answer to each question is on the following page and there is a review in the back making it easy to track progress. I recommend this book to all parents of children in the Atherton and Redwood City area who are beginning addition or will start learning addition in school after the summer vacation. And when you’ve read this book, you can begin playing dominos with your child!

Image from amazon.com

For more math books and games in the Atherton area, check out Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park: http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark

Even and Odd Numbers in Atherton

In addition to Even Steven and Odd Todd, Missing Mittens by Stuart J. Murphy will assist your child in learning to distinguish between even and odd numbers. On a chilly winter day in Atherton, Farmer Billy needs his gloves but he realizes that one of the gloves is missing! When he goes to put gloves on all of his animals, he notices the same thing- one of the gloves is missing, leaving an odd number of gloves. He finally finds the culprit who stole the mittens and an even number of mittens is restored. Throughout the story, your child will learn to identify which numbers are odd and which are even and they can guess whether the numbers are odd or even . There are questions at the back of the book which I advise you answer with your child. For best retention of the knowledge learnt in the story, follow the review instructions provided at the end of the book and practice quizzing your child on even and odd numbers on a regular basis. I recommend this book to all children in the Atherton and Menlo Park who are learning even and odd numbers. Atherton schools really emphasize even and odd numbers so this book is a good review to get your child ahead of the game.

Image from harpercollinschildrens.com

Summer Math Camp in Atherton

Mathnasium has a great summer math camp planned for this summer. We will help your child refresh on previously learned math skills as well as introduce to them new math skills. By enrolling in Mathnsaium’s summer math camp this summer, we will prevent your child’s brain drain. What makes Mathnasium a perfect math summer camp is that the parents get to choose the times and dates your child attends. Whether you want to drop them off everyday in the morning, every couple of days in the afternoon, or once a week, it is ALL up to you. This means that if your child wants to attend a different summer camp, they can. Drop them off at a sports camp (for example), and after you pick them up, drop them off at Mathnasium.


Atherton is a beautiful city. It is a really nice place to take your child on a walk on a beautiful summer day. As you and your child walk, you can quiz your child on their math skills before or after a session at Mathnasium’s summer math camp. Here are some questions you can ask:

  1. If Sarah and Susie walk 3 miles. How many yards did they walk? (1 mile = 1760 yards)
  2. If you walk past one tree, and then two combined trees, and then 4 combined trees, and then 8 combined trees, how many combined trees will you walk past next? What is the pattern?
  3. If Atherton is 1.9 miles away from Mathnasium, how many yards do you need to walk to get to Mathnasium?
  4. A drive to Mathnasium from Atherton is approximately 1.9 miles away. If your mom drives on average 35 miles per hour, how long will it take you to get to Mathnasium?

We hope to see your child this summer. 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

Dinosaur Math for Atherton Kids

The key to making kids interested in math is to apply it to what they already love. For a lot of kids (and some adults as well!), there are few things as cool as the gigantic reptiles that walked the Earth tens of millions ago: dinosaurs. While the science behind them is changing every year (velociraptors are now thought to have had feathers over their entire bodies), the appeal of dinosaurs remains constant, and if parents can link them to math, then the excitement may carry over, inspiring them to succeed in their Atherton-area schools.

dinosaur word problems atherton

A Spinosaurus, as drawn by one of our Palo Alto-Menlo Park Mathnasium 5th graders.

Digging Up Dinosaur Word Problems

If your kids are anything like some of the students in our Mathnasium center, then they already know almost everything there is to know about dinosaurs. If you want to engage them with fun dinosaur math problems, then a little bit of independent research may be necessary. Anything with numbers is good to know: a dinosaur’s weight, length, or time period can all be put into problems. Additionally, using the standard dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex or Apatoasaurus won’t cut it anymore; try looking up some more exotic species such as the Pachycephalosaurus or the Microraptor, a 3-foot long, 4-winged bird-like dinosaur that attacked birds, fish from the air. If you can’t find information easily online, take a trip to the Atherton Library on Dinkelspiel Station Lane or the Menlo Park Library on Ravenswood Avenue with your kid, and let them teach you from the books.

Some First Ideas

Although the best dinosaur word problems will be made at home with help from your kids, here are a few ideas to get you started, as suggested by one of our Mathnasium 5th graders from Atherton.

1) Many large carnivorous dinosaurs would eat, on average, up to 1.5% of their body weight each day. If a spinosaurus, one of the largest carnivores ever, weighted 7 tons, how many pounds of food did it have to eat each day?

Answer: 210 pounds (remember, 1 ton is 2000 pounds)

2) Many scientists think that Spinosaurus ate mostly fish. If a Spinosaurus needed to eat 210 pounds a day and he ate only large Atlantic Salmon, which weight about 30 pounds, how many of these fish would he need to eat each day?

Answer: 7 Atlantic Salmon

3) If the Giganotosaurus, one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs ever discovered and one of the only ones suspected to prey on massive herbivores, and the Diplodocus, a huge herbivore that grew up to 120 feet in length including it’s whip-like tail, had lived at the same time, they would have had some incredible fights. However, the last Diplodocuses died about 151 million years ago near the end of the Jurassic, while the first Giganotosaurus lived about 99 million years ago. How many years existed between the times of the Diplodocus and the Giganotosaurus?

Answer: 52 million years.

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!

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 http://gitanestyle.wordpress.com/

  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

Summer Number Game: Math in Atherton

In Atherton, number games are more fun!

Over summer, practicing math doesn’t have to come hand-in-hand with boring worksheets and times tables. Try this fun number game with your Atherton kids to get them pumped for math over summer and excited for school in fall! And if your kids aren’t the “math-is-so-fun” types, they’ll at least get in some good problem-solving time over the break.

Pico, Fermi, Bagel: The ultimate number game puzzle

Pico, Fermi, Bagel is a super fun game for in the car, at the dinner table, or any old time.

Either two people can play (thinker and guesser), or there can be one thinker and multiple guessers, taking turns to guess the number first.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The thinker begins by thinking of a number with however many digits are decided. The number should have no repeating digits (we’ve never tried with repeating digits, anyway).
  2. The guessers take turns guessing the number; or if there is one guesser, she or he can just continue guessing.
  3. To each guess the guessers make, the thinker will respond with one of the following hints:
  • If the guess has no correct digits, the thinker will call: “Bagel”
  • For each correct digit in the wrong place, the thinker will call: “Pico”
  • For each correct digit in the correct place, the thinker will call: “Fermi”

For example: As the guesser, if you guess the number 562 and you receive the clue “Bagel, Fermi, Fermi,” you know your number contains two digits that are in the number but not in the correct place. The trick is that you won’t know to which numbers the clues apply. (Or the thinker can just say “Fermi, Fermi”– the meaning stays the same, sans “Bagels.”)

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

Atherton number game

Atherton and Algebra Tutoring – it’s all about the A’s, the B’s, and the Game

Every parent worries about their kid getting A’s. Especially parents in Atherton, which is one of the highest stress regions of Silicon Valley. It’s all competitive and we might freak out if our child comes home with a B in Algebra, or even worse. But really it’s not just about the A’s in Algebra it’s about making algebra relevant to your child for the long term.

by Mathin’ Catherin, February 24, 2013

> Learn more about Algebra Tutoring in Atherton

Two B’s is Not Equal to Four A’s in Algebra

Algebra Tutoring and Atherton, CA


So from 8th grade to college may seem like a long time, but the reality is having a lot of B’s in Algebra is not going to be what your child needs to get into a top university like Stanford or Berkeley. So two B’s in two math classes are not as good as one A in a competitive class like algebra 2.

As a parent, you may not remember all your algebra beyond just 3 plus x = 7, and therefore solve for X and do the square root of twelve and wasn’t there something about PI, which was a movie.  Oh yea, so it’s 4.

But for your child the trick is to put algebra into perspective.

Making Algebra a Priority for Your Child

So one good trick, beyond finding a professional algebra tutor, is to drive your child to some of the nearby universities like Stanford, and show them just how incredibly fun it will be to be in college. Even if they hate math and algebra, you might have a little luck by informing them that Algebra is just a barrier.

~ Mathin’ Catherine