EP033: 10 awesome apps for math fluency

Huzefa shares 10 apps to help kids grow their math fluency in a fun way. Monica Burns, founder of ClassTechTips.com, has written an excellent article on the topic that Huzefa parses on the show. Check out these recommendations to help your kids get the best possible opportunity to master mental math!


EP032: The value of continued education for adults and kids

Jane Davidson, founder of "How Do I Begin," joins the show to discuss her adult education focused company. Jane is dedicated to bringing information to adults on topics like music production, writing, and marketing. Jane has a long history in standardized test prep, and applies her knowledge and expertise to the work that she's doing today. Check out her website at www.howdoibegin.com

EP031: Tackling tough math questions

So what do you do when panic strikes and your mind draws a blank? How do you re-center yourself and charge forward with ferocity and confidence? What you do is this: write everything down from the problem. This is the most important part of the problem solving process. As you read a tough math question, write down the pertinent data and establish relationships by setting up equations. This exercise will help you see solutions that were previously difficult to decipher.

1. The average of 4 different integers is 75. If the largest integer is 90, what is the least possible value of the smallest integer?

2. Solution X is 10 percent alcohol by volume, and solution Y is 30 percent alcohol by volume. How many milliliters of solution Y must be added to 200 milliliters of solution X to create a solution that is 25 percent alcohol by volume?

3. On a certain multiple-choice test, 9 points are awarded for each correct answer, and 7 points are deducted for each incorrect or unanswered question. Sally received a total score of 0 points on the test. If the test has fewer than 30 questions, how many questions are on the test?

EP030: The power of willpower

So how can willpower be developed? How can students engineer a perfect level of self-control and discipline? Just like actual muscle fibers, willpower must be exercised in the right away. Overexertion can be exhausting and counterproductive, whereas just the right amount of use can (1) optimize productivity and (2) augment one’s willpower capacity. For folks who are interested in bolstering their willpower muscle, here are five quick tips.

EP029 : 35 websites for free educational videos

Huzefa provides a thorough list of 35 awesome resources for students to find amazing and free educational videos. To check out the websites yourself, read the article posted below:


ACT checklist


In order to be successful on the ACT come test day, you need to have all the right tools when you walk into the test center. Bringing the right tools can be just as important as preparing for the ACT exam. For your convenience, I have prepared a comprehensive checklist that will help you make sure that you have everything you need on the big day.

Photo ID & admission ticket

In order to take the exam, you must bring an acceptable form of photo ID along with your admission ticket. If you forget one or both of them, the testing administration will likely not allow you to take the exam. The recommended form of photo ID is your driver’s license or school ID. You can print your admission ticket by logging into your account on the ACT website (http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act.html).

Pencils and erasers

Make sure you bring at least two pencils to get through the exam. It is recommended that you bring several of them in case one of them breaks or gets too dull. You do not want to waste time during the exam sharpening your pencil. However, you can bring a small hand sharpener in case your test room does not have a sharpener for you to use during the breaks. All pencils must be a soft lead No. 2 pencil, since that is the only kind that the scantron will read. It is important that you bring an additional eraser with you. When you erase a lot, your pencil eraser can break or become full of graphite. As a result, an additional eraser could prove helpful when erasing myriad bubbles without ruining your answer sheet.


During the math section of the ACT, you are allowed to use a calculator. However, it must be an ACT approved calculator. Using a non-approved calculator can be grounds for removal from the test center and dismissal of your scores. I recommend that you use a TI-84, as it is acceptable for numerous standardized tests. Sometimes, calculators can malfunction or run out of batteries during the exam. Accordingly, you should bring extra batteries or a backup calculator just in case. Make sure that you store these extra materials under the desk while you take the exam and let your proctor know that you might be switching calculators. This is done so that the proctor can approve the backup calculator.


Be sure to wear layers on test day. You can never be certain of the temperature within your particular test center. Accordingly, dress in layers so that you can remove clothes if it gets too warm, or simply keep your multiple clothing layers on if it is a chilly environment.


Bring an analog watch with you when you take the exam. While some testing rooms do have clocks, it is not guaranteed. Even if your room has a clock, it might be out of view from your particular desk. If you do not own a watch, I recommend borrowing one from a family member or a friend. Helpful tip: use an analog watch and set the hands to 12:00 at the beginning of each section. This will allow you to know exactly how much time you have used without doing any extra math!

Food and drink

The test takes more than four hours to complete. As such, it is highly likely that you will get hungry over the course of the exam. A high-energy snack (i.e. granola bars or protein bars) is an essential piece of your toolkit. You should also bring a bottle of water to make sure that you are hydrated. There is nothing more distracting than taking a test when you are hungry and/or thirsty.

EP028: Piloting and mathematics

Huzefa is joined by Gabriel, a pilot for a major commercial airline. Gabriel explains why math is so important for his day to day work as will as his future ambition to become a commercial astronaut.

EP027: Time management for young kids

In this episode, Huzefa offers five tips to help teach young kids how to manage time effectively. Admittedly, time management gets easier with age, but there are concrete steps that parents can take to help young kids to learn the requisite skills.

For more information, go to http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/time-management-for-kids/

SAT checklist

As the SAT testing date approaches, you have done all you can to prepare for it. You have completed the practice tests with great care, reviewed each section fastidiously, and registered for the next SAT test date. So now what? Now you need to be prepared for test day.  Accordingly, here is a quick rundown of everything you'll need to do in preparation for the big day.

Check your test center

Make sure that there have not been any last minute changes to your exam location due to any test center closings. The College Board posts these closings a few days before each test. During instances of bad weather or power outages, check test center closings on Friday night and on Saturday morning before leaving for the test center.

Print your admission ticket

Your admission ticket is one of the most important materials you need for the exam. Without it, the exam proctors will not let you into the room to take the exam. Make sure that you print it out well in advance of the actual test day. You can sign in to your College Board account by clicking here.

What you MUST bring to the exam

Below is a list of everything you MUST bring to the exam. Failing to do might lead to your dismissal from the test site.  Here it is:

  1. Your admission ticket
  2. Acceptable photo ID (school ID or driver’s license)
  3. At least two No. 2 pencils with erasers
  4. An approved calculator (a TI-84 is recommended, but not required)

For your convenience, here is a link to the list of approved calculators for the SAT: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/taking-the-test/calculator-policy

What you SHOULD bring to the exam

While the following items are not required, they can be immensely helpful for the exam.

  1. A watch (without an audible alarm) will help you see how much time you have left for each section and keep track of time. Helpful tip: Use an analog watch and set the hands to 12:00 at the beginning of each section. That way, you can know exactly how much time you have used without doing any extra math.
  2. An extra calculator in case your primary calculator runs out of battery or malfunctions. You have to ask permission to access any backup equipment, and they cannot be on your desk during the test. A backup can prove immensely helpful and crucial to getting a good score if your primary calculator malfunctions.
  3. A drink or snack can refuel you during the break. You will get one ten-minute break and one five-minute break during the exam to go to the bathroom, drink water, and eat food. During this time, you can refuel and make sure that you are not hungry for the rest of the exam. A hungry stomach will distract you from taking the exam and possibly lower you score.

What you should NOT bring to the exam

Listed below are items that are prohibited.

  1. Any devices that can be used to record, transmit, receive, or play back audio, photographic, text, or video content.
  2. Audio players/recorders, tablets, laptops, notebooks, or any other personal computing devices
  3. Separate timers of any type (so bring a watch to time yourself)
  4. Protractors, compasses, rulers
  5. Highlighters, colored pens, colored pencils
  6. Pamphlets or papers of any kind
  7. Dictionaries or other books (no exceptions, even if English is not your first language)

If you are unsure of anything, be sure to ask the proctors ahead of time or your school counselor.

What if you have prohibited items?
Don’t worry. The test administration staff will collect and hold phones and other prohibited electronic devices during the test administration. Let them know that you have a prohibited device, and they will keep it safely for the duration of the exam. Just make sure that you do not forget to pick it up after the exam. If you are caught using an electronic device or if it makes noise, you can be dismissed and your scores will be canceled. Furthermore, the device can be confiscated and its contents inspected. Be sure to turn off your phone and any alarms you may have set on your watch or phone.

The pervasiveness of math

It is a sincere, meaningful, inquisitive, observant, pragmatic, and unbelievably common question that every math teacher will hear ad nauseum: “when are we ever going to use this in real life?” When kids or adults ask this very simple question, I embrace it.  I strive to be transparent about everything I teach, and as much as I love math, I recognize that certain careers and specific life trajectories do not involve the many pieces of math that we learn during our education.  That being said, math is truly enmeshed in most of life pursuits, more so than any other subject matter.  So, if your questions about the applications of math have been rebuffed, I encourage you to grab a small glass of milk and prepare yourself for a laconic essay on the applications of math.  If you would rather watch a four minute video on the topic, click the video below.

At the store

The wheels of commerce grind forward each and every day in stores across the globe.  Whenever you make a purchase for groceries, clothes, light fixtures, cameras, pajamas, or coffee, the basic principles of math are being used to manage and monitor cash flows. Every purchase requires a modicum of understanding of how budgets work and the affordability of items. While short-term decisions such as buying groceries may only require knowing how to count, add, subtract, and manipulate decimals, larger purchases of items like cars and homes requires knowledge of interest rates, amortization charts, and mortgage payments. A thorough understanding of these principles can help you save you a substantial amount of cash when you need to make such heavy purchases.

In nature and art

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and so on ad infinitum.  Can you predict the next number in this infinite sequence?  For you math savvy folks who instantly pictured the number “21,” bravo. This famous series of numbers is called the Fibonacci Sequence.  Each successive number is calculated by adding the previous two numbers. While it is fun to attempt to decode this slightly mysterious pattern of enumeration, it is a profound arrangement of digits to say the least. This sequence is found in spades throughout nature. Objects like pineapples, sunflowers, nautilus shells, and pine cones (to name a few) all contain patterns that follow this lovely blueprint. The geometric concept of symmetry, which is the property an object possesses when a line can divide it into two mirror images, is a central component of the attraction equation.  Sometimes we look at something and consider it beautiful, while other times we find it unappealing. Why? Despite our belief that this is a subjective judgment based on personal preference alone, scientists and mathematicians alike have found a mathematical principle behind these judgments: symmetry. Symmetrical objects appear more attractive to us and draw our eyes towards them. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is an emblem of the perfect symmetry exemplified in the human body, a succinct explanation for why we as humans are drawn to one another.

In the Kitchen

Every cooking recipe involves whole numbers and fractions. Ingredients are always measured in particular units, and those units are then broken down into wholes and parts.  It is common to add a ½ tbsp of sugar, 2 cups of milk, a ¼ tbsp of butter, and 3 tsp of salt to whatever confection that floats your boat.  But to make that special dish taste truly delicious, you must measure those ratios and proportions correctly.  If you plan to work as a professional chef, the onus may one day be on you to perform conversion calculations in your head between gallons and liters, grams and ounces, or celsius and fahrenheit.

On the Road

Whenever you’re on the road, you must consider the rate of fuel consumption and the time it will take to get from Point A to Point B. When attempting to travel conscientiously, knowing your miles-per-gallon when fueling up ensures that you will make it to your destination without extra and unnecessary stops at a cost-efficient price point. Furthermore, calculations are constantly being made, either by you or a third party application, with regards to the time it will take you to drive to a particular destination. You must factor traffic, construction, and a variety of other components to be sure that you will be on time. Whether you use Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, or some other application, each must analyze several thousand routes, consider estimated driving time, and factor in general traffic trends as well as real-time data from users. These GPS technologies must perform calculations on the fly so that they can present alternate routes in an instant to get you to your final destination on time. Needless to say, none of this GPS awesomeness would be possible without math.