Halloween in Palo Alto

Halloween is coming soon! Palo Alto residents have long enjoyed this exciting, sweet treat-filled holiday; houses are decorated all around town, and there are events such as trick-or-treating and games at Stanford Shopping Center near downtown Palo Alto. While everyone in Palo Alto seems to enjoy Halloween, however, not as many people know about the history behind the holiday. Here are some fun facts on the origins and history of Halloween.

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1. The word “Halloween” is a shortening of “All Hallows’ Evening,” which was the original name of the holiday.

2. Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which celebrated the end of the harvest season.

3. Masks and costumes were originally worn in order to mimic or appease any evil spirits.

4. The earliest known reference to trick-or-treating in North America was in a 1911 Ontario newspaper. Apparently  before that, kids didn’t go around getting candy from neighbors!

We at the Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park hope you have a fun, safe Halloween this year. or more fun ways to learn math, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.


Pearl Milk Tea in Palo Alto

One popular drink in the Bay Area and particularly in Palo Alto is pearl milk tea, otherwise known as PMT, boba, or bubble tea. A sweet treat enjoyed by all ages, it is relatively inexpensive and comes in dozens of flavors.

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There are many beloved pearl milk tea places throughout and near Palo Alto to visit. These include Gong Cha, T4, Verde, and Teaspoon. A lot of students especially like to go to pearl milk tea cafes in Palo Alto to work on their schoolwork while they enjoy a refreshing drink. Here are some fun math problems that you can work on while you sip on your drink!


1. Cassie’s biology class is having a beginning-of-year party and wants to get pearl milk tea for beverages. There are , 25 students in her class, including Cassie. If each drink costs $4, how much will it cost for everyone–including the teacher–to get a drink?

2. There are 8 pearl milk tea places in Palo Alto. If 5 of them sold 100 drinks today and the rest sold 80 drinks today, how many drinks did the pearl milk tea places sell in total today?

3. Michael wants to drive to the nearest pearl milk tea cafe to grab a drink. It is 10 miles away. His car gets 30 miles per gallon, and a gallon of gas cost him $3. How much would he be spending on gas to drive there and back to get a drink?

Hope these pearl milk tea math problems were challenging but fun! For more fun ways to learn math, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.



Soccer in Palo Alto

Many children in Palo Alto enjoy playing soccer.  Soccer may seem like a purely physical sport, but there is also math.  Here are some soccer related math problems provided to you by the Mathnasium of Palo Alto / Menlo Park:

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  1. A soccer game is really long at 90 minutes! If Charlie’s game is a third of the way through the first half how much time is left in until half time?
  2. During one soccer game in Palo Alto, Stacy scored two goals in 24 minutes. If there is 36 minutes left in the game and she keeps scoring at this rate, how many more goals will she score in this game?
  3. If James burns 40 calories every five minutes of playing soccer and his coach keeps him playing for  60% of the game, how many calories does he burn during the game?
  4. Two Palo Alto soccer teams are playing against each other.  If Carol’s team scores once every 27 minutes and Holly’s team scores twice every 50 minutes which team will win?

Next time you play soccer in Palo Alto enjoy the game and think about all the math involved.  You will be amazed at how many things contain math in them!

Greer Park in Palo Alto

Palo Alto is famous for its spacious, well maintained public parks. One such park is Greer Park, located on Amarillo Avenue by Bayshore Freeway and Highway 101. This massive park can host a wide variety of activities; there are soccer fields, a skate bowl, a playground, and barbeque facilities! For this reason, many Palo Alto residents love this park. It is generally quite bustling on weekends with people of all ages: kids, teenagers, and entire families.

While taking a break from doing math, kids should definitely visit Greer Park and explore its huge grounds. Things one can do at Greer include playing soccer, playing frisbee, having a picnic, flying a kite, going on a jog, or even having a barbeque with friends and family! But Greer also has quiet, secluded areas as well. In fact, the spacious fields, shady trees, and numerous park benches provide peaceful places to read, study, and work on math homework!

Whether you live right next door in Palo Alto or are simply passing by while driving, be sure to check out the lovely Greer Park! We hope you have fun–and perhaps even get some math work done–at the park.  For more fun ways to learn math, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.

Summer Days at the SFMOMA

Staying cooped up in Palo Alto can get boring sometimes. One fun–and relatively local–place to go on excursions this summer is the lovely, bustling San Francisco. Home to a multitude of attractions suitable for a wide variety of interests, visiting San Francisco is the perfect family-friendly summer activity.

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This summer, the newly renovated San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, otherwise known as the SFMOMA, has become a go-to place for people of all ages. With FREE admission for any visitor 18 and under, it is budget-friendly while still being able to mesmerize visitors for hours on end. The museum has 7 spacious stories, each filled with modern art exhibits from artists of a wide range of styles. The SFMOMA will undoubtedly keep kids simultaneously entertained by and educated on the world of art.

Best of all, kids can stay refreshed on basic arithmetic skills while visiting the SFMOMA! Things you can do to incorporate math into your visit:

–Ask your child to count how many paintings have a certain characteristic (Ex: How many paintings on this floor include faces in them?).

–There are many geometric works of art in the SFMOMA. Ask your child to name the shapes they see.

We hope you and your family have fun at the SFMOMA as you wrap up your summer! For more fun ways to learn math, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.

Back to School Shopping in Palo Alto

With the beginning of the new school year in Palo Alto, stores all over Palo Alto are stocked up on supplies for students! They have pencils, backpacks, notebooks, and all kinds of other supplies to help you prepare for the upcoming year in Palo Alto. Here are some fun math problems to do after a fun day of shopping!

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1. If a pencil costs $0.50 and an eraser costs $0.30, how much does 3 pencils and 2 erasers cost?

2. If Joe spent $15.75 on a backpack and $3.50 on a pack of pencils, how much did he spend in all?

3. There are 25 students in Ms. Smith’s class at Palo Alto High School. She requires each of them to buy 10 pencils. Pencils cost 12 cents each at the local Palo Alto safeway, and the local tax is 8 percent. How much do the students in Ms. Smith’s class spend on pencils?

4. 11th graders at Palo Alto High School do 26% more homework than 10th graders. If the average 10th grader uses up 167 sheets of paper a month, how many sheets of paper will an 11th grader use.

5. The local Palo Alto Safeway is hosting a back-to-school sale, with 30% off all items. If Sammy purchases 3 erasers for 50 cents each, how much does he save during the sale?

Happy shopping! For more fun ways to learn math, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.

Snow Trip for Palo Alto

A fun thing to do during the early spring months is to take a short trip from Palo Alto up to Tahoe for some skiing, snowboarding and sledding! The fresh powder is always fun to play in, and provides the perfect arena for some family fun.


While you are on the slopes with your children, ask them these math questions:

1) If you can go 8 mph on your skis, and you want to reach the bottom of the mountain by 5 pm, how many minutes earlier do you have to leave if the mountain run is 3 miles long?

2) The outside temperature is 12 degrees Fahrenheit (much colder than here in Palo Alto). Covert this to Celsius! You can do this by subtracting 32, and then diving by 1.8

3) You are at the cafe for a short lunch break, and you want to order some pizza and fries. If a slice of pizza costs $4.50 and fries cost $2.75, how much change will you get back if you pay with a $10 bill?

We hope you have fun in the snow, Palo Alto! Enjoy the weekend, but don’t forget to come visit the Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park once you come back home; we want to hear all about your adventures in the snow! For many fun ways to learn math in the Palo Alto area, visit The Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park.

President’s Day Math in Palo Alto

Palo Alto students celebrated President’s Day with a long weekend! Many students slept-in, binged on Netflix, and even went skiing in Tahoe. To celebrate President’s Day, Mathnasium’s releasing these President’s Day-themed problems for local Palo Alto students. Enjoy these problems to practice your basic calculus skills!

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1. To celebrate President’s Day, the City of Palo Alto decides to throw a parade! The function that expresses the displacement of a float is f(x) = x^2 + 3x + 5, where x represents time in seconds. Find the acceleration of the float at 2 seconds. (Hint: acceleration is the second derivative of the displacement function).

2. George Washington and his soldiers are in a boat, rowing across the Delaware River. If the velocity function can be written as v(x)=3x^2 + 2, what is the displacement function? Write your answer as an indefinite integral.

3. To celebrate President’s Day, local Palo Alto resident Ms. Walters has decided to throw a block party for her neighborhood! After visiting her local Palo Alto grocery store, she has calculated the costs of 2 food combinations for the party. 6 racks of ribs and 5 pies will cost $30. 7 racks of ribs and 2 ribs will cost $50. How much does 1 rack of ribs and 1 pie cost?

We hope that you had fun trying out these President’s Day-themed math problems!

Palo Alto Valentine’s Day Math

Valentine’s Day is in less than a week, Palo Alto! This day began as the celebration of an early Christian saint, but now it is a celebration of love for family and friends.

The holiday is filled with flowers, and of course chocolate! One of the favorite candies is the candy hearts with little messages. Many classrooms in Palo Alto with have celebrations for the day, and these usually include feasts of desserts.

While you are enjoying all the little sweet treats, try these Valentine’s Day related math problems!

1) If 1/4 of a candy heart box contains 23 candy hearts, how many hearts should be in the whole box?

2) Billy, from Palo Alto, eats 3 chocolates in 2 mins. If he keeps eating at this rate, how many chocolates will he have eaten in 10 minutes?

3) Ann is picking flowers, in a field in Palo Alto, to give to her mother as a Valentine’s Day present. If she wants a ratio of 3 sunflowers to 4 roses. How many roses does she need to get if she already has 6 sunflowers?

We hope you enjoy this Valentine’s Day with your loved ones and have fun doing these math problems together, Palo Alto!

Explaining the New SAT for Palo Alto students

In Palo Alto and around the rest of the country, high schoolers dread taking the SAT/ACT, the standardized test required by colleges for undergraduate admissions. A while ago, The College Board announced that they were changing the format of the current SAT starting with the March administration. In this blog post, we’ll inform you, Palo Alto students and parents, of the changes to come on these tests.

The College Board has stated that they want the new SAT to be more reflective of the learning that students experience in classrooms. In that sense, the SAT will become more like its rival, the ACT. Traditionally, Palo Alto students have thought of the SAT as the “aptitude” test, testing logic and reasoning, and the ACT as the “achievement” test, testing knowledge acquired in school.

So what does that mean for the anxious Palo Alto high schooler?

The new SAT will do away with the dreaded vocabulary section, meaning students will no longer need to drill themselves with flashcards. In the new SAT, more emphasis will be placed on the reading comprehension skills encouraged by Common Core standards. Students will be asked to analyze the literary style of works that should be more familiar to them (speeches by MLK, Gandhi, etc). In the math section, Palo Alto students may either be pleased or upset to hear that there will be a no-calculator section. The College Board has stated that they would like to test more applicable skills in math, rather than include questions that merely encourage the use of equations.

Whether you’re planning on taking the SAT next month or next year, we wish you the best of luck!

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