The Mom Here!  For years, the biggest fight Waverly and I had on a regular basis was about MATH. Being “English People,” it was, admittedly, not easy to justify exactly “how this stuff will help her in her real life.” Until 6th Grade, when we found the World’s Best Math Teacher, Mr. L., who teaches at the World’s Best NYC Public Middle School whose name I cannot name for hopefully obvious purposes, and the World’s Best Math Tutor, John D., who works online for Together, they saved our lives…or at least our relationship! So we thought for Pi Day, we’d have them help you understand the value (see what I did there?) and the FUN of Math.  After knowing them for a while, I vouch that this is 100% true (see what I did there?).  Oh and in case you’re wondering, we don’t fight about math anymore, and her grades have gone way up.  Now, we fight about other stuff…anyway with the very real possibility that your kid will be doing school work from home at this point or in the near future, maybe have him or her check this out, and avoid some “math fights” of your own!

Waverly here! Happy Pi Day, everyone.  Like mom said, I have the World’s Best Math Teacher and the World’s Best Math Tutor.  Add them together  and I have double the math fun! (See what I did there?) I decided to KidTerview them so they could help us spread the word that math is not only useful in real life but it’s also fun if you give it a chance. Let’s see what they have to say. First up is my online tutor, John D:

What are some ways to make math fun for kids?
1) we almost always play a game at the beginning of class.  The photo below is my 6th grade class playing GaGa Ball.  Wee have many other games, some I have invented, some they have invented, and some I found on line.  GaGa ball is their favorite right now.
Credit: John D.
2)  we play math related games.  I invented a game called the great math race.  The class is divided into teams usually two to a group.  Each group has to come up with a team name that is written on a post it note and placed on a row on the white board.  I divide my white board up into a grid.  So if there are 5 teams the grid is five rows and 10 columns.  Each team occupies a row.  Each team is given a work sheet a white board, marker and eraser.  When a player works out a problem on their white board, he/she will come to the front, show me their answer and the work to support it.  If everything is correct then I tell them they can move their team’s post it note so many spaces ahead on the grid (the harder the problem the more spaces I award).  The team that travels the furthest during the game is the winner.  If a player gets the wrong answer then I tell them to move their team post it note back some spaces.  There are many other math games out there.
How can math help you in real life?
Algebra is a very powerful tool that we use everyday in real life and we don’t always realize that we do.  For instance, our student council has a bake sale to raise money.  We sell each baked good for $0.50 each.  We ask parents to donate the baked goods but one family did not know how to bake so just donated $10.  I an use Algebra to model a relationship between the profit of the sale and the number of baked goods that we sell.  That relationship would be expressed as
Profit (y) = 0.50(baked goods sold or x) + $10.  Using this model I can calculate how much profit I can make given the number of baked goods sold.
In my earlier career as an engineer, I used math all of the time to design highways.Everyone uses math in one way or another.
What’s your favorite thing about math? Mine is the problem solving, kind of like being a detective….
My favorite thing about math is the fact that it is absolute, that is there is no grey area, the answer is usually correct or incorrect.  I also like the satisfaction of the challenge of applying the concepts to real life and the logical way of thinking.
Finish this sentence – Kids should LOVE math because….
What is your favorite kind of pie? I would have to say pizza.  My dad operated an Italian restaurant here in the DC area back in the 60’s.  Family lore has it that he was the first to introduce pizza in this area.

Waverly here again! Wow, I knew my tutor was cool but now that I know he is part of the family that first introduced pizza to DC, I think he’s even cooler! Now here’s my teacher, Mr. L., who I first met when he was dressed as a superhero on the first day of school. Right from the start, I knew he was going to be the best math teacher ever, and I was right!

What are some ways to make math fun for kids?
I like to tell realistic stories based on my life, specifically, my own
quirks and shortcomings, insatiable appetite, and love of superheroes.
What can math help you with in real life?
While it’s hard to justify each specific standard in content areas, having
a logical mind and the ability to critically think is crucial to making
decisions in life.
What’s your favorite thing about math?
I really love unusual proof methods. In particular, inductive reasoning is
such a cool way to show an idea works for all numbers. You show something is true once, assume it is true for a random number, and show based on that assumption that it is true for any and all numbers. I also like
contradiction proofs, where you prove something by showing that the
opposite is impossible.
Finish this sentence – Kids should LOVE math because….
They don’t know enough of it yet to not love it yet! You wouldn’t watch a
few TikTok videos and dislike all of TikTok simply because they were
silly (Momterruption. Um, yes I would).  There’s so much cool math out there, ranging from probability, decision theory, game theory, number theory, calculus, etc, that to define yourself as “not-a-math-person” so early in the exploration would be allowing yourself to miss out on tons of awesome stuff!
What is your favorite kind of pie?
So many to choose from, and I have never been known to turn down a
dessert. That said, a classic apple pie is hard to beat.

Well, there you have it! We suggest that today and every day, while you’re doing your (very necessary, very fun, and very helpful in real life) math, you do it while … eating pie, of course! Happy Pi Day to all, and thanks to Mr. D and Mr. L – both of you are superheroes to us!