Mathnasium 24024 Bothell Everett Hwy, #400, Bothell WA 98021 (425) 318-1629   bothell@mathnasium.com

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News from Mathnasium of Bothell

Bothell math learning center owner focused on raising children’s confidence levels

Aug 20, 2017

(by Megan Campbell, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, http://www.bothell-reporter.com/news/bothell-math-learning-center-owner-focused-on-raising-childrens-confidence-levels/

Hao-Ching “Howard” Kuo wants to change children’s lives with math.

Kuo, who has been a mechanical engineer for more than 30 years, recently opened a math learning center in Bothell to do just that.

The franchise, Mathnasium of Bothell, is located at 24024 Bothell Everett Hwy, A400. It’s hours of operation are 3-7 p.m., Monday through Thursday and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.

The business is equipped to teach children from kindergarten through their senior year in high school.

This is not a place to get help on homework, but rather a place to learn math.

“In Mathnasium, we focus on being a learning environment,” Kuo said. “It’s not about just memorizing the formula.”

Mathnasium’s strategy for helping students is broken down into three parts: first, each student takes an individualized assessment of their skills to identify gaps in their knowledge. Then Mathnasium sets up an individualized learning program for the student where instructors meet the students where they are. Finally, the program relies on a concept called “number sense” to help the students gain true understanding.

“Number sense” is when a person understands the relationship and symbolic representations between numbers and when that person is able to perform mental math and can use numbers in real-world situations. (For example: Find eight percent of a $250 meal without using a calculator.)

“The most basic of today’s new mathematical skills is number sense,” wrote Dr. Keith Devlin, a mathematician at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., in his Jan. 23 article “All The Mathematical Methods I Learned In My University Math Degree Became Obsolete In My Lifetime,”in which he explains the concept “number sense.”

Devlin quotes Marilyn Burns’ 2007 book, “About Teaching Mathematics” in which Burns “describes students with a strong number sense like this: ‘(They) can think and reason flexibly with numbers, use numbers to solve problems, spot unreasonable answers, understand how numbers can be taken apart and put together in different ways, see connections among operations, figure mentally, and make reasonable estimates.’”

This is they type of mathematical understanding Mathnasium is teaching its students.

“We like to say, ‘we make math make sense,’” Kuo said.

So far, Kuo has given more than 20 free assessments since opening a few short weeks ago. About 80 percent of those tested, he said, are underpreforming in math.

“I want to help them,” Kuo said, adding that there’s a lot of space in which the students can improve.

Of those 20-something children who have gone through the assessment, three have already started working on their skills at the center.

“A lot of parents are waiting for the school year to start,” Kuo said. But he suggests, “don’t waste these summer months” and get ahead.

He said that he’s already seen great improvement in those three students.

When students really understand the relationship between numbers and understand the concepts behind the math questions, Kuo said, it’s easy to do math without a calculator.

“If you really know the number sense behind those (problems), it’s easy,” he said.

Then students gain confidence in what they’re doing and leave happy, he said. Gaining that confidence is why Kuo wants to help students learn math, he said. He’s seen it change their lives.

“Bringing back the kids’ confidence is more important to me than just learning something,” he said.

Kuo moved to Washington from Houston, where he has worked at Lockheed Martin, NASA and FMC Technologies, to name a few.

He discovered he had a knack for teaching when he offered to train young engineers fresh out of college while he was working at FMC Technologies. Kuo designed 15 training courses, and over a two-month period, he taught his younger colleagues topics such as mechanical design and stress analysis.

“After that, these engineers were so happy,” because they felt they understood how to do their jobs, Kuo said.

Even for those who are not intending on entering a STEM program in college, it’s important to have an understanding of basic math, Kuo said.

“It’s a lifetime skill,” he said. “Math will follow you forever.”

Prices for lessons depends on the grade level and program.

Mathnasium of Bothell is currently hiring math instructors. For more information call (425) 318-1629.

There are a number of Mathnasium franchises on the Eastside, including in Woodinville, Redmond, Bellevue and Mercer Island. In total, there are more than 800 Mathnasium franchises worldwide.

For more information about Mathnasium of Bothell visit www.math nasium.com/bothell.