Pizza Counting Math Problems in Menlo Park

Finally, a book that combines two of your child’s favorite things in Menlo Park – pizza and mathematics! Pizza Counting by Christina Dobson is a fun and creative way for your child to learn the basics of counting, addition, multiplication, division, and fractions. As toppings are added to each pizza, your child will learn addition by adding the toppings on the pizza. When the pizza is cut into several different pieces, your child is introduced to division and fractions. This book is more of an exciting set of word problems with pictures than it is an actual story. With fun facts interspersed throughout the book (such as the number of pizzas it would take to circle the Earth at the equator), Pizza Counting will keep your child engaged and excited to learn math. If you are looking for a new way to practice math with your child in Menlo Park, this book is for you. Both you and your child will find this book a refreshing change from the normal pen and paper math problems. I recommend all parents in the Palo Alto and Menlo Park area head over to Books Inc or Keplers to pick up a copy of Pizza Counting.

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Probability Word Problems in Atherton

In another wonderful book in the Pigs Will Be Pigs math series, Pigs at Odds by Amy Axelrod helps children in Atherton and the rest of the Bay Area to learn basic probability. When the Pig family goes to the county fair, there are many fun and exciting games to play. With the chance of winning prizes in certain games, probability principles are at play. When the pigs decide to play spin the wheel, odds otherwise known as a probability problem is particularly apparent. Mr. Pig spins the wheel several times, but he still does not spin and land on a whinning space. In this scenario, the probability of landing on a winning space is likely poor due to his experience. To be certain, Axelrod provides questions at the end of the story for your child to answer this question based on the information provided in the story. There is also a useful definition and example explaining what probability is and when it should be used. The Pigs series does not fail to disappoint and Axelrod delivers another helpful and interesting pig math story. I recommend Pigs at Odds to all young children in the Menlo Park and Atherton area who are beginning to learn the basics of probability.

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Palo Alto Veterans’ Day math word problems for your student

All the Palo Alto kids are excited to have a 3-day weekend, but they can still do math during the break!  They all get an extra day to have fun in Palo Alto and also honor United States veterans. Some students will use this time to enjoy the company of their families, while others might take a trip to go

American flags to honor US veterans.

American flags to honor US veterans.

camping or hang around Palo Alto with their friends and enjoy their remaining Halloween candy.  At Mathnasium in Palo Alto, we will make sure to continue using math.  We encourage you to have your Palo Alto and Menlo Park students do the same with the following fun math word problems relating to their time off from school.

Elementary School:

1.  Jeremy has 42 pieces of leftover Halloween candy after his trick-or-treating adventures in Palo Alto. If he collected 79 pieces of candy from local houses, how many pieces has he eaten so far?

2.  Haley is allowed to watch just 7 hours of TV over the break.  She watched 3 hours of a show about math on Saturday and 2 hours of cartoons on Sunday.  How many hours of TV is Haley allowed to watch on Monday?

3. Timmy has a 3-day weekend.

, he also has 6 hours of chores to do over those three days.  How many hours does he have to work on chores each day, if he wants to work the same amount each day?

Middle School:

4.  Miranda is very excited for Christmas.  She knows there is a long time until she gets to open her presents on December 25.  If today is November 9th, how many days does Haley have to wait to open her presents under the tree in Palo Alto?

5.  Joey is very excited about all of his breaks in Palo Alto.  He wants to count up all of his days off for the rest of the year to practice his math skills.  He knows that there are 21 weekends, 2 days each.  Four of those weekends are 3-day weekends, giving him an additional day off.  He also has Winter Break, which gives him nine extra days off, and Spring Break, which gives him five more.  How many total days off does Joey have left in Palo Alto this year?

6.  Veterans’ Day was first celebrated in 1919.  How many years has it been honored?  How many decades?


7.  A group of Palo Alto student decided to host a fundraiser to honor veterans.  They spent 245 dollars to set everything up, and charged 12 dollars per person for entry.  If they received 134 dollars in addition to the entry price in donations, how many people had to pay for entry in order for the students to break even?  How many for them to raise their goal, 150 dollars, for veterans?

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!

Hey, math and Stanford Fans! Try some football word problems

Here in Palo Alto, there are a lot of Stanford fans.  Stanford has one of the best college football teams in the country, coming in at  #5 in the rankings this week.  They have a flawless record of 3-0 after beating San Jose State, Army and Arizona State.  However, 19 of the top 25 teams have not lost a game this year, and all of them have 3 or more wins.

Stanford math word problems

Stanford math word problems

So why is Stanford number 5 and not number 25 like Fresno State, who is also 3-0?  Here at Mathnasium, because we are near Stanford, we are working to figure out how these rankings work.  Many different variables go into deciding who will be ranked, and what they will be ranked.  These include points scored, points allowed, strength of schedule, yards gained, yard allowed, and many more.  We will try to begin figuring these rankings with a few word problems. Can you help us by solving these word problems?

Here are the fun Stanford math word problems:

1. Stanford scored 34 points in their first game, 34 points in their second game and 42 points in their most recent game.  How many total points have they scored so far this season?

2.  Stanford’s opponents have scored 13, 20 and 28 points.  How many total points has Stanford allowed?  How many more points have they scored than they have allowed?

3.  Oregon has scored 66, 59, and 59 points, respectively in their first 3 games. They are ranked #2 in the country.  How many total points has Oregon scored?  How many more points has Oregon scored than Stanford?

4.  Find the average number of points that both Stanford and Oregon score per game.  To do this, take the total number of points that you already calculated, then divide by the number of games, 3.

Challenge Word Problem for extra smart Stanford kids:

5.  Pretend the rankings are based completely on points scored.  If Oregon scores 27 points in their 4th game against Cal, how many points would Stanford need to score in their game in order to overtake Oregon in the rankings?

At Mathnasium, we are more focused on math than football.  But, if we did have a football team, we would know exactly how to be #1!

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


Math Word Problems at Palo Alto’s Happy Donuts!

Happy Donuts on El Camino–Palo Alto’s most beloved donut shop–is famous for their delicious classic glazed pastries. But this tastiness comes with a price: each donut is almost 300 calories, and we all know how hard it is to stop at just one!

Here are some fun donut-themed word problems to try out with your elementary or middle schooler during your next trip to Happy Donuts:

Happy Donuts Word Problems

happy donuts palo alto math word problems mathnasium

  • You eat two extra-glazed donuts at 400 calories each. Your friend Sharon eats three powdered donuts, which are 300 calories each. Who has eaten the most calories?
  • You get a box of a dozen donuts  from Happy Donuts. 6 are glazed, 3 are chocolate, 2 are jelly-filled, and 1 has chocolate sprinkles on top. If you choose one from the box at random, what is the probability you will get a jelly-filled donut? You eat this donut, and reach into the box again. What is the probability you will get the second jelly-filled?
  • If you’re supposed to eat 2,000 calories per day, and you eat 500 calories worth of donut holes, how many calories do you have left? What fraction of your daily caloric intake have you already eaten? Can you convert this to a percentage?
  • You bring two dozen donuts to class, and your classmate Jackie eats 1/4 of the donuts! How many did your friend eat? How many are left for the class?
  • You just ate 4 mini donut holes at 75 calories each. If running burns about 150 calories per hour, how many hours will you have to run to burn off those delicious donut holes?
  • If each donut is exactly 300 calories, how many calories are in a box of one dozen donuts?

You get the idea! Try making up your own donut-themed math problems on the spot and quizzing your kid during your next trip to Happy Donuts! These problems are fun to solve and help strengthen your child’s understanding of word problems, which many children struggle with. Post your own creative math problems below!

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

~ Mathin’ Catherine 6/2013

Palo Alto – Menlo Park Cupcake Word Problem Answers 3/3/13


If your kids love sweets and are learning math, encourage them to do the weekly word problems for a tasty treat. Each week, print out and do the grade appropriate problem(s), bring it in and you will be entered in a weekly drawing for a free SusieCakes cupcake! Winner’s will be posted on the website each Sunday.

If you want a copy of the math word problems without answers for your Menlo Park cupcake-craving kid, go to the Mathnasium site listed below and click print!

Check us out on our website:

Here are the Answers to 3/3/13 Word Problems!

Lower Elementary:
Question: How many legs do 2 dogs, 3 birds, and 4 fish have altogether?
Answer: 14 legs
Solution: Dogs have 4 legs. 4 doubled is 8. Birds have 2 legs. 3 doubled is 6. Fish have no legs. Add them together; you get 8 + 6 + 0 = 14.

Upper Elementary
Question: Michael ate 8/9 of a pie. Sue ate 4/5 of a pie. Who ate more pie?
Answer: Michael
Solution: Computation:
Find the common denominator (or same name) for each fraction. The smallest number that 9 and 5 both go into is 45. 8/9 = 40/45 and 4/5 = 36/45. Michael ate 40/45 of a pie and Sue ate 36/45 of a pie. So Michael ate more pie.
Number Sense:
Compare how much of the pie each did not eat. Michael did not eat 1/9 of a pie. Sue did not eat 1/5 of a pie. 1/5 is larger than 1/9, which means Sue has more pie left over. So Michael ate more pie.

Middle School:
Question: Jessica spent a total of $200 on her doll collection. 30% was spent on accessories like cars and furniture, 25% was spent on the doll house, and the rest was spent on toy dolls. How much money did Jessica spend on toy dolls?
Answer: $90
Solution: Method 1: one part is equal to the total minus the sum of the other parts. So we need to find how much each part of the collection costs. Accessories are $60 (percent means for each hundred, so 30% of 200 is 30 + 30 = 60). The doll house is $50 (25% of 200 is 25 + 25 = 50). So far, Jessica spent $60 + $50 = $110. To see how much the toy dolls cost, subtract the amount she spent on the house and accessories from the total. $200 – $110 = $90
Method 2: Find the percent of the collection that was spent on toy dolls.
The total percent spent on accessories and the house is:
30% + 25 % = 55%.
Subtract that from 100% to get the percent spent on toy dolls.
100% – 55% = 45%.
45% of the $200 was spent on toy dolls. 45% of 200 is 90 (percent means for each hundred, so 45% of 200 is 45 + 45 = 90), so Jessica spent $90 on toy dolls.

Algebra and Up:
Question: One pint of paint can cover 25 square feet. How many pints of paint are needed to paint the outside of an opened top rectangular box with a length of 10 feet, a width of 5 feet, and a height of 5 feet?
Answer: 8 pints of paint
Solution: First we need to find the surface area of the box. The surface area is the area of all the sides. The formula for a rectangular box is SA = 2×length×width + 2×length×height + 2×width×height. However, this is an opened top box, so that means the top does not count towards the surface area. So now our formula becomes SA = length×width + 2×length×height + 2×width×height. Plugging it in we get:
SA = (10)(5) + 2(10)(5) + 2(5)(5) = 50 + 100 + 50 = 200 square feet.
Each pint of paint can cover 25 square feet, so divide be 25 to get the number of pints needed. 200 ÷ 25 = 8 pints of paint are needed.