Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mathnasium Gives Thanks at Thanksgiving

It's that time of year when we reflect upon all that we're thankful for, and at Mathnasium we have a lot on our list! Here are just a few things we're thankful for this holiday season.

1. Our Students

We get so much joy from seeing our students' faces as they conquer a difficult math concept, and we love having fun with them as we make math make sense! It's such a satisfying feeling to take a subject that frustrates so many students, and see their attitude transform. They grow confidence and begin looking forward to school!

2. Our Parents

When parents get involved in their child's math progress, we are overjoyed. Parents know sending their child to Mathnasium is going to help them reach their math potential. So many of our parents work with their kids to practice "mathing" at home as well. Math excellence is a team effort between instructors, students, and parents, and we're glad to have such dedicated team members!

3. Our Instructors

Our instructors aren't just math whizzes, they are also cool people who love making a difference in our students' lives. They know how to make math make sense, and also how to make it FUN!

4. Mental Math Tricks

In the classroom and outside of it, you need math skills at your fingertips. We're so grateful for the mental math tricks we are able to use in our daily lives to make countless tasks simpler.

5. The STEM World Around Us

Scientists and engineers are landing on comets, designing artificial limbs to improve people's lives, building environmentally sound cars and houses, and exploring new star systems in our universe—all of this is within our fingertips because of math. What used to be sci-fi is now becoming reality!

It has never been cooler to excel at math, and we couldn't be prouder to be math nerds.

6. Report Cards

Report card time is usually considered a pretty cringe-worthy moment in any student's semester, but Mathnasium students and instructors look forward to them! Nothing makes us happier than seeing those grades jump from C's and D's to A's and B's. We love seeing your report cards, and hope you'll share them with us often!

7. Teachers 

We know so many teachers truly want their students to excel, and they do everything in their power to make that happen, including spending money out of their own pockets to create interesting lesson plans. To all the teachers who work hard each day, we are glad to have you as partners in our students' math development, and we thank you for your dedication!

What are YOU thankful for this holiday season? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Problem Set

Want to test your math skills and get into the Thanksgiving spirit? Try our Thanksgiving word problems!

Lower Elementary:

Question: At a Thanksgiving dinner, 6 relatives are visiting from Nevada, 7 relatives are visiting from California, and 4 relatives are visiting from Arizona. How many total relatives are visiting?

Answer: 17 relatives

Solution: To find the number of relatives visiting, we need to add the members visiting from the different states. So, we need to add 6 + 7 + 4. Notice that if we add 6 + 4 first, we would get 10. So, 6 + 7 + 4 = 10 + 7 = 17. There are 17 relatives visiting.

pumpkin pie

Upper Elementary:

Question: The Morgans had pumpkin pie for their Thanksgiving dessert. The mom ate 1/4 of the pie. The dad ate 2/3 of what was remaining after the mom ate her portion. The daughter ate 1/2 of what was remaining after the dad ate his portion. How much of the pie is left after the daughter ate her portion?

Answer: 1/8 of the pie

Solution: From the whole pie, the mom ate 1/4 of it. 1 – 1/4 = 3/4. There is 3/4 of the pie left after the mom ate her portion. The dad ate 2/3 of what was remaining. Breaking 3/4 into 3 equal parts, each part is equal to 1/4. If 1/3 of 3/4 is 1/4, then 2/3 of 3/4 is 2/4 = 1/2. So the dad ate 1/2 of the pie. This means that there is 3/4 – 1/2 = 1/4 of the pie left for the daughter. The daughter ate half of what was remaining. Half of 1/4 is 1/8. There is 1/8 of the pie left after the daughter ate her portion.


Middle School:

Question: Right before Thanksgiving, a turkey went on sale from $20 to $17. What was the amount of the discount?

Answer: 15%

Solution: To find the percent discount, find the difference between the original and sale price and divide by the original price. $20 – $17 = $3. Now, we have 3/20. Since percent means for each hundred, one way to find the percent is to make the denominator equal to 100. 3/20 = 15/100. So, the turkey is on sale at a 15% discount.

Algebra and Up:

footballQuestion: The Goldmans are playing a game of football after their Thanksgiving meal. Bob threw the football and its path can be traced by the function h(t) = –t2 + 3t + 10 where t is the time from when Bob threw the football in seconds. At what time will the football hit the ground?

Answer: 5 seconds

Solution: To find when the football hits the ground, we need to set h(t) = 0.
0 = –t2 + 3t + 10
Multiply both sides by –1.
0 = t2 – 3t – 10
Factor the polynomial.
0 = (t – 5)(t + 2).
Set each factor equal to 0 and solve for t.
t – 5 = 0
t = 5
t + 2 = 0
t = –2
t = 5 and –2. It does not make sense that the ball hit the ground –2 seconds after Bob threw the ball, so that means the ball hits the ground 5 seconds after it was thrown.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

DIY TriMathlon: Rubik's Cube Challenge

Were you unable to attend our recent 4th Annual TriMathlon? Do you still want to join in the TriMathlon challenge fun? Today we'll share with you how you can create a fun and challenging DIY TriMathlon event to test your child's math skills!

Our TriMathlon sponsor, You Can Do the Rubik's Cube, provided our final National Tie-Breaker challenge. To recreate this challenge at home, you'll need a few materials.

What you'll need:


1) First prepare your Rubik's cube for the challenge.
 Place numbered stickers on each side of the cube, following the picture guidelines below (note: the Rubik’s logo corresponds to 0):

2) You are now ready to begin your challenge! Place the Rubik's cube on the table in front of your contestant(s). Show them the Rubik's Cube Challenge Prompt below:

Once your contestant understands the challenge, set your stopwatch for 5 minutes. Signal that it's time to start, and begin your stopwatch countdown. Four minutes into the challenge, warn your contestant that there is only one minute left. After 5 minutes are up, tell your contestant to place the Rubik's cube on the table with the side they want scored facing up.

3) It's scoring time! Place the Rubik's cube on the official Mathnasium TriMathlon Rubik's Challenge scoring sheet, then add up the numbers on the side facing up with help from your contestant.


After the scores are in, as an extra exercise, have your contestant try to figure out the highest score possible using this configuration.

(Answer: It’s 77)

Make sure to save the scoring and comparison of scores until the challenge is over, so that students do not feel defeated midway through the challenge.

4) Looking for more fun Rubik’s Cube challenges? Try these additional activities:

Do the challenge again, this time specifying that the red side of the Rubik’s Cube be subtracted from the total, rather than added. Try to find the highest score.

Do the challenge again, this time trying to put together the lowest sum.

Have your contestant solve the Rubik’s cube normally, and see if they notice anything interesting (for example, the stickers may face different directions.)

Make your own configuration of numbers that differs from the final TriMathlon challenge and try to find the highest score.

Can you think of any fun challenges to do with the Rubiks Cube? Let us know in the comments! If you complete our TriMathlon Rubiks challenge, please share photos or video with us on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TriMathlon 2014 Winner's Circle

4th Annual Mathnasium TriMathlon

Our 4th annual TriMathlon has officially come to a close. We had a fantastic Tie-Breaker event on October 24th and 25th, with 62 Round One winners competing in a top secret final challenge across 43 different Mathnasium centers to determine who would join our Grand Prize Winner's Circle.

Now the cat's out of the bag, and we can share the details of our Tie-Breaker event! Our sponsor, You Can Do the Rubik's Cube, provided a fun and difficult final challenge. Check out what our competitors were asked to do in their Tie-Breaker event:

Twelve elementary school students finished the Tie-Breaker Competition with grand prizes. A top TriMathlon finish is no easy task, as competitors were up against the top scorers in their grade level across all participating Mathnasium locations. This year’s grand prize winners received a trophy, a Rubik’s prize package, and a scholarship to Mathnasium.

Jaiden Shah of Mathnasium of Spotswood

Congratulations to our 2014 TriMathlon Grand Prize Winners!

Grade 2
1st Place: Minh Tran, Mathnasium of Lake Charles
2nd Place: Yael Marler, Mathnasium of Lake Mary
3rd Place: Sanjay Anand, Mathnasium of Mountain View-Los Altos

Grade 3
1st Place: Sumedh Vangara, Mathnasium of Germantown MD
2nd Place: Gavin Gershon, Mathnasium of Cherry Hill
3rd Place: Abhishek Jagannathan, Mathnasium of Oak Park

Grade 4
1st Place*: Jaiden Shah, Mathnasium of Spotswood
1st Place*: Joshua Monickaraj, Mathnasium of Pittsford-Brighton
3rd Place: Simon Koski, Mathnasium of Almaden
* tie for first place

Grade 5
1st Place: Chirag V., Mathnasium of Issaquah
2nd Place: Aman Tewari, Mathnasium of North Austin
3rd Place: Vithul R., Mathnasium of Issaquah

Thanks to all the centers and students that participated in the TriMathlon. Your student participation this year raised $32,230 for local schools! 

The TriMathlon was made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from You Can Do the Rubik's Cube, Lakeshore Learning, Smarties®, and PrintingForLess®.

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating all of our winners and participants on a successful TriMathlon! We look forward to seeing you again next year!