Money Math in the Bay Area

Is your Bay Area child struggling to learn how to count money? Could they use extra practice with a skill that will be valuable for the rest of their life? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then Pigs will be Pigs by Amy Axelrod is the right book for you! When the Pigs are hungry, they go to the fridge but find that the fridge is empty! Mother Pig hasn’t been to the bank recently so the pigs need to find more money before they go to eat out at a restaurant. They search the entire house and find money hidden in random places. Help the pigs add up the money and see how much money they have! The pigs gather their money and head to a restaurant. Your child find the total amount of money the pigs collected and then find how much money they spent on their meal. I recommend Pigs will be Pigs to all children in the Bay Area and the Silicon Valley who are learning how to count money. Check out Pigs will be Pigs at your local library in the Bay Area or purchase it at the nearest bookstore! You won’t regret reading this book with your child.

Bay Area math information

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For more information about math help and book recommendations, check out Palo Alto – Menlo Park Mathnasium’s website.

Bay Area Skydiving Math

Everyone has heard of skydiving, probably because it’s such a risky and exciting sport! There are people skydiving all over the Bay Area, so let’s learn more.  Have you ever wondered, how does skydiving in the Bay Area work? How do humans survive jumping out of an airplane, anyway?

Well, the jumping out part is pretty self-explanatory. However, the parachuting part requires a bit of math to understand. Basically, the greater surface area ( another math concept!) of the parachute increases the air resistance on the person falling to the ground, allowing them to softly and slowly land. Air resistance is caused by an object pushing through the air molecules in the atmosphere, much like how you have to push through water when swimming.

The reason we can’t just jump out of planes and survive without a parachute is our velocity. The gravity of the Earth makes us accelerate as we head towards the ground, until our air resistance cancels the force of gravity out, and we read our terminal velocity. Though at a certain spot our velocity does not increase, this terminal velocity is still fast enough for us to crash against the ground! This is where, once again, a parachute comes in.

The air resistance is increased by the parachute, and therefore the terminal velocity is decreased ( by about 90%). This allows the skydiver to land safely.

Here is a video about this concept!


To learn more fun math facts in the Bay Area, visit

How do astronauts from the Bay Area use math?

Ever wanted to be an astronaut?

Almost every kid has dreamed about floating up in space among the stars and asteroids, or looking down on our blue marble while walking on the moon. Even if being an astronaut isn’t your dream job anymore, you have to admit that travelling beyond this world way out of the Bay Area sounds pretty cool! And guess what? It gets even better, because:

Even rock star astronauts use math in their job ever single day.

In order to get a a spacecraft outside of Earth’s atmosphere and beyond, scientist and astronauts have to precisely calculate the route and speed the ship will travel in. Once the spacecraft is in space, math is still needed!

Advanced math and engineering is used to pilot the vehicle, keep the temperature and air pressure constant inside the ship, and most importantly, to get our astronauts back to Earth safely. If you’ve ever visited NASA in the Bay Area, you probably saw that math is also used to build spacecrafts, communicate between the astronauts an the control center, and create models of newly discovered places in the universe.

If you want to work as an astronaut in the future, or have another cool job in architecture, education, medicine, economics, or many other fields around the Bay Area or the world, you need to know and enjoy math. So get those brains mathin’ !

Learn more about Math Tutoring and Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park (and find more fun problems) —

Bay Area Transportation and The Math of the Morning Commute

Math of Bay Area Commute

The Bay Bridge during light traffic. Millions of people commute across the Bay Area every day.

We’ve always known that getting around the Bay Area at rush hour is a mess. Freeways and surface streets from Palo Alto to Vallejo grind to a standstill, and buses and trains are packed like sardine cans. But recent events such as BART strikes and bridge upgrades have revealed just how complex the transportation network in the Bay Area can be.

A Lot of People, a Big Bay

The Bay Area, including the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo (home of our Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park), Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Sonoma, and Solano, has a total population of about 7.2 million people. However, unlike other large metropolitan areas, which typically have one primary employment hub, the Bay Area has many different commuter hubs, including the Financial District of San Francisco, downtown San Jose, the tech centers of Silicon Valley and the peninsula, downtown Oakland, and more. For this reason, people are travelling both ways every morning and night, meaning that there’s no street or freeway that’s safe.

In addition, the Bay Area’s geography makes the commute even more complicated. The huge San Francisco bay is traversed by only five bridges: the Bay Bridge from San Francisco to Oakland, the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Marin County, the San Mateo Bridge from San Mateo to Hayward, the Dumbarton Bridge from Menlo Park to Newark on the East Bay, and the San Rafael bridge from Richmond on the north bay to San Rafael on the Marin peninsula. Mountains also make road-building hard, resulting in features such as the congested Caldecott Tunnel through the Berkeley Hills.

The Bay Area recently became the metropolitan area with the highest percentage of “mega-commuters,” people drive at least 50 miles and spend 90 minutes on their morning commute; the rate for the Bay Area was 4 times that of the United States overall!

The Options for Bay Area Commuters, and the Results

Besides taking the congested freeways such as US 101 from San Jose to San Francisco through Palo Alto or Interstate 80 through Berkeley and Emeryville, many residents take public transportation such as BART, Caltrain, or the myriad bus systems on their daily commute.

BART, the largest system in the Bay Area, consists of five lines and has an average weekday ridership of about 400,000 passengers across the East Bay, San Francisco, and the northern Peninsula. Caltrain, which runs from Gilroy to downtown San Francisco, has an average weekday ridership of about 50,000.  Interestingly, a few single Muni buses in San Francisco have daily ridership of over 30,000, such as the 38 bus from the Richmond District to downtown, which runs every minute during rush hour.

Regardless of one’s mode of transportation, commute times for the Bay Area certainly aren’t short, as the math shows. Santa Clara County residents averaged 25 minutes of commute time, with most people working within the same county. Residents of San Francisco travel 30 minutes every morning on average.

Learn more about Math Tutoring at the Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and how we apply math to the real world at


Digging to China with Bay Area Children

For many decades, children all around the world, like in the bay area, have been trying to dig a hole in their backyard that would get them to China. After countless tries, most children realized that digging all the way to China is way to difficult and may even be impossible. So, the question we ask is: Is it possible to dig to china?



If you wanted to dig from your backyard, all the way to China, you would need to dig for about 8,000 miles. That is equivalent to 140,800 football fields, 3 Americas lined up side by side, and approximately 81100805 king sized Hershey bars laying side by side.

Not only is 8,000 miles really, really far, but digging to China also leads to other complications. The more you dig towards the center of the Earth, the hotter it will get. According to this website the center of the Earth is approximately 10,000 F, which is way too hot!

So, in reality, it is far too complicated to dig to China, but if you want, you should try it!

Before you do, try out these fun math problems!

  1. If you are 5,000 miles into the earth, how many more miles do you have to dig in order to get to the other side of the world? (8000 miles TOTAL to get to the other side)
  2. Yesterday you dug 20 miles, today you dug 12 miles, and tomorrow you plan on digging 31 miles. How many total miles did you dig?
  3. If you are 4 feet and 11 inches, how many ‘yous’ would make up 8000 miles?


Learn more about Math Tutoring and Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park (and find more fun problems) —


Money Math – Your Bay Area Child’s New Allowance

Allowance for Bay Area Elementary School Children


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I recently stumbled across and they had a great idea to help children learn math by giving them an allowance. For kids in elementary school, parents should tell them that their allowance is 50 cents multiplied by their age per week. By doing this, your child will learn all sorts of math skills like: counting money, value of coins, fractions, and much more. You  should help your child save their money, and once it seems like they have a significant amount amount of money, have your Bay Area child count how much they have.

Now, you can ask your child to:

  1. Count how many dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies there are
  2. Count how much money they have
  3. Calculate how much money they have until a certain value

Practice problems:

  1. Riley is 9 years old. If he gets paid 50 cents times his age every week, how much money does he get paid every week?
  2. Riley has $18.00 in his piggy bank. He wants to use his money to buy a toy that costs $21.99. How much money does he need?

    Mom teaching son to save money

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Allowance for Bay Area Middle School Students

Once your child is in middle school, you can start setting a constant dollar amount as your Bay Area child’s allowance, or give your child a certain amount of money for each chore they do. Using this system you can help teach your child how to save their money and you can give them harder math problems!

Practice Problems:

  1. Camille is 14 years old living in the Bay Area. Her parents decided to give her an allowance based on her chores. If she washes the dishes, she gets $0.50. If she makes her bed in the morning, she gets $1.00. If she waters the plants, she gets $3.00. If she vacuums, she gets $2.25.
    This week, Camille washed the dishes 3 times, made her bed 4 times, watered the plants twice, and vacuumed once. How much money did Camille make this week?
  2. Billy is Camille’s brother, and he has the same allowance plan as his sister, and the same chores. He is saving his money so that he would be able to buy a video game that costs $42.50. If he does each chore everyday, how many days does he have to do every chore until he can afford the video game?

Learn more about Math Tutoring and Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park (and find more fun problems) —