FAQ: Why Do We Offer Rewards & Incentives at Mathnasium?

Jul 3, 2022 | Glendale

By Maya Diakoff, Center Owner


A question we’re sometimes asked at Mathnasium is why we offer rewards and incentives to our students for working on math. Shouldn’t the students be focusing on their work and not on toys and games? If the only thing we cared about was drilling more information into your child’s head, then yes. At Mathnasium, however, we’re also interested in changing your child’s feelings toward math, so that in the future the learning comes more easily, and hopefully with a sense of excitement.

Most of the change in feelings that happens with our students is a result of doing the right math and having the math presented in a way that makes sense to them; it's also important to have instructors who are supportive and who the kids can relate to. But in adidtion to that, having a reward and incentive program helps the kids to feel even better about the work they are doing and to be even more motivated to complete their work and move ahead in their learning.

We want mathematics information to be more than just another set of facts that your child has memorized. We want math to sink in and become natural; to be more intuitive and instinctual. In order for math to become a second-nature skill, it must be practiced, and practiced often. Much like a child’s ability to play sports isn’t ingrained from birth, they must practice every day after school so that they can develop their skills. Setting daily goals is a great way for us to motivate our students to ensure that they are getting in their “daily work-out” of mathematics. Goals are more enticing for a child when they come with a reward, so we offer a rewards-system where students earn tokens for completing their daily goals, and earn punch cards for completing each page of coursework. Tokens are used in the small candy or toy machines, and punch cards can be saved up for all sorts of fun prizes. Since implementing the “daily goals” system, we’ve noticed an increase in both student motivation and attentiveness.

One of the great things about the rewards system is that it, in and of itself, requires math knowledge to understand. In order to get a prize that costs 25 punch cards, a student must know how many punch cards they already have and how many more they need in order to be able to afford it. If a punch card needs 24 punches to be full, how many worksheets need to be completed to get the prize? Sometimes we find students calculating how much work they need to do in order to get the toy they really want, and that couldn’t make us happier.

When the students are being rewarded for their work, it makes the work more fun. It makes math seem less intimidating, and also creates positive feelings and emotions toward math. Essentially, we’re aiming for “if doing math is what allowed me to get this video game, I love doing math!” We often notice students feeling more excited about math after only a few Mathnasium sessions.

On top of all of this, we want to encourage students to feel excited about coming to Mathnasium. While school often reminds kids of learning and long hours of coursework, we want them to feel differently about coming here. Apart from our rewards system, we also host fun center events on a regular basis. We want the thought of coming to Mathnasium to be exciting and encouraging, so we work hard to maintain a center that is a fun, positive environment that kids look forward to attending. If coming to the center is fun, then maybe doing math is fun too.

That may be more of an answer than you were expecting, but we take things very seriously here. Our program is thought out, our incentives are tested and proven to work, and there is most definitely a method to the madness.