Archive for the 'Teachers' Category

Sep 28 2015

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Exciting time for MisterNumbers Pattern Play Math expanding in two directions

The idea of playing with numbers goes against the serious nature of most math teaching, but it is actually much more effective than grind memorization. Kids get excited, have fun, generate a positive attitude about math, develop curiosity and learn to see and look for underlying patterns everywhere: the basis for learning for a lifetime.


This is an exciting time for Pattern Play Math expanding in two directions.  The revolutionary video on Squaring any Number Mentally  is below.Squares created the easy way by MisterNumbers Pattern Play Math

There is much more on using the system for finding Square Roots, creating the 20×20 Times Table, and multiplying numbers mentally.
Creating the Times Table from Squares by MisterNumbers Pattern Play Math

Squares go right through the biggest numbers on the times tables and make it easy to multiply the larger numbers together, which is where students tend to struggle most.

And it is all done with addition, not multiplication.


 But I am also excited about the other direction: New Patterns for Basic Addition on Number Wheels. I found many high school students struggle with basic addition and found some fascinating and powerful images using number wheels that could help pre-school through 2nd graders have fun memorizing addition/subtraction facts. This is great because when they come to multiplication/division, they are already comfortable with the simple number wheels.

Additon direction came AFTER squares. Creating Squares is a ADDITION process, and creating the multiplication tables or individual math facts both also  involve addition. As I worked with students, even Calculus students, I found that many of them struggled with basic addition. Relying on cell phones as calculators may be one reason basic math is suffering.

The two tools using Number Wheels for anchoring addition are ways to add 5 to any number, and Number Wheels that show the cool patterns of numbers that add up (in the Ones) to 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. The Ten-Adds are Horizontal parallel lines and Five-Adds are Vertical parallel lines. ALL ADDITION is within 2 of these lines. If a student can “see” the numbers on the wheel and their relative position, they can “see” the Ones part of the answer.

Addition on Number Whee

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Jul 27 2015

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How to Make a Number Wheel by MisterNumbers How to make Number Circles or Number Wheels are a fun, exciting, and playful way to learn math. Watch for more videos by MisterNumbers on using Number Wheels for addition. This video is a simple way how a student can create their OWN number wheel or Number Circle. They love to create it and create Pentagons, Stars, Houses, and now it is also a way to learn addition with shortcuts and understanding. Pattern Play Math is a revolutionary approach to math that makes math learnable and fun for many students.



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Jul 22 2014

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Vine Video series on Learning the Times Tables by MisterNumbers

I enjoy Vines (7 second videos) and just started a series on Twitter on the times tables. It is fast and fun and because it cycles on Twitter, it creates the Times Tables 8 times a minute. The first two are on the Threes and Sevens on Tic-Tac-Toe Squares, each created in 7 seconds from fun patterns.

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 6.41.14 PM

It starts with the Ones-digits (I call them the Onesies as a friendlier nickname) put in from lower left going up, put in 1-9 and a 0 on the right. Then the Tens digits (nicknamed the Tensies) are added. 

Put in zeros in front of the top row, ones in the second row, and twos in the bottom row. You have created the THREES: 03-06-09-12-15-18-21-24-27. Do it several times a day.

See the image of a phone dial, and it tells you how many 3s to get each number.  Cool, a phone shows each factor.




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Mar 24 2014

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Ten-Adds: A Cool First Step to Right Brain Math Play

Ten-Adds: One Nine and Twos Eights

Ten-Adds: Ones and Nines work together to climb a mountain and Twos and Eights read together

One of the keys to Right Brain Math is exploring Ten-Adds (the numbers that add up to 10: 1-9, 2-8, 3-7, and 4-6, 5-5 and 10-0). It does help kids in addition, but it has many other benefits, and show up on Tic-Tac-Toe Squares, Number Wheels, and even Cubes of numbers. The main advantage is that kids struggle with multiplication by 6, 7, 8, and 9. Ten-Adds make Nines almost as easy as Ones, Eights almost as easy as Twos, Sevens as easy as Threes, and Eights almost as easy as Twos.

Kids can easily picture a phone number pad, which also helps them learn the basic numbers. All the ends of Tic-Tac-Toe lines going through the five in the middle are the Ten-Adds.

Ten-Adds All Four


 Put it to use: Kids are fascinated with phones and calculators. With a phone off, have kids hit the Ten-Adds (1-9, 2-8, 3-7, and 4-6, 5-5) in both directions (1 + 9 and 9 + 1). Have them say out loud “1 + 9 = 10” etc. They are playing Tic-Tac-Toe and win every time. It can also be viewed as Sadoku or a 3X3 grid. Kids are fascinated with patterns and this can make math fun.

Next time we will explore Ten-Adds on the Number Wheel, where the connection between the numbers in each Ten-Add clearly show the similarity in patterns (example: the twos and eights create the same pattern on the number wheel) Also how they form parallel lines and relate to fives. Tune in.

TenAdds 37 55 46 COLOR

More Ten-Adds: Threes and Sevens fly paper airplanes, A Five sees another Five in the mirror and Fours and Sixes work together lifting weights.

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Jan 09 2014

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The Magic Day for 2014 is Friday, Amaze your friends with Calendar Math Magic!

Key Dates RED 2014Easily figure out what day of the week any date falls on for this year, last year, or next year by using the Magic Day and a Key Date for each month. Take a couple minutes and learn this fun math trick with your kids. This is easy and incredibly handy for the rest of your life. 

It is now 2014. Fourteen starts with an F, so you can remember the MAGIC DAY is FRIDAY. This means that easy to remember dates of each month fall on Friday. All these dates fell on Thursday last year (the memory trick is that 13 starts with Th) and will fall on Saturday in 2015 (Thursday-Friday-Saturday). What are the KEY DATES each year?




Double Dates fall on the Magic Day of Friday. Even Double Dates  are 4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10 and 12/12 (April 4th, June 6th, August 8th, October 10th, and Dec 12th) and all are Fridays this year. Some fun math will quickly tell you what day any date falls on during these months. 

April 2014June 2014Aug 2014oct 2014Dec 2014




Feb 2014February: Start with February, which has 28 days all three years. All the Sevens (7th-14th-21th-28th) in February are on the Magic Day which is Friday for 2014. Notice that Valentine’s Day always falls on the Magic Day. It is easy then to figure out what day any other date falls on. For example, Feb 9th would be 2 days after Feb 7th, and would be on a Sunday.


Mar 2014March: The last day of Feb (the 28th) is a Friday so March 1st is a Saturday. Now see that in March, all the Sevens (7th-14th-21th-28th) are also on the Magic Day which is Friday for 2014.   Again you can easily figure out which day of the week any date falls on.



Jan 2014January is easy if you picture February with 2/7 on a Friday, a week earlier 1/31 was on a Friday and so 1/3, 1/10, 1/17, and 1/24 are also on Friday.



July 11 2014July: Celebrate the 4th of July (7/4) because it is always on a Magic Day, this year Friday. 



Nov 2014May 2014Sept 2014November, May and September: Here is a simple memory reminder, “A friend works at the 7/11 from 9 to 5.” Those pairs of numbers are reversible (7/11, 11/7, 9/5 and 5/9) and all fall on Friday. 

Amazing Calendar Math Magic cover3x4x72If you want to know more, get the Amazing Calendar Math Magic ebook on Kindle or get it free as a pdf when you buy the Right Brain Math book, ebook, and DVD for $24.95.



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Mar 30 2013

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Right Brain Math book, new edition April 2013

Right Brain Math Book, Ebook and DVD by MisterNumbers Pattern Play Math

Combo of Right Brain Math book, ebook & DVD

The Right Brain Math book has been a favorite of teachers, parents, kids, and schools. Now it is better than ever. See hundreds of teacher, parent, and kid reviews on the testimonial page at

The new edition is out now, April 2013 with over a hundred changes, corrections, new images and additions. It is available on the Products page of Pattern Play Math.

The Right Brain Math Ebook is also updated and is available April 1, 2013.

“Thank you! No tears doing homework tonight! I have the hardest time trying to explain math to my child because she thinks so much differently than I do, And teachers just send home drill-and-practice worksheets that are pure torture for us. She totally got these patterns and had FUN doing it!”

“My family labeled me stupid because I couldn’t grasp math. I always thought I was really stupid for years, now I can finally understand math, the visual way. Thanks!”

“EZ Times Table (in Right Brain Math book) is a simple, systematic approach, which assists in memorization of multiplication facts. Review and repetition are built into each lesson. Using movement, rhythm, and visual patterns to explore multiplication, Thomas Biesanz has created a program to engage students of all learning styles. These patterns are a useful tool for multiplication mastery.”
-Linda Burks?

“Learning the times tables becomes a game as children learn fun patterns while filling in the EZ TIMES TABLES charts. Instead of learning one math fact at a time (which is not only difficult but highly inefficient), children learn a pattern for the entire table. Table by table, they construct a times tables matrix for tables 1-10. Pattern play develops number sense. EZ TIMES TABLES will intrigue your child.
Highly recommended as a resource for parents and teachers.”

-Eugenia Francis, author of Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables

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Jan 25 2013

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Amazing Calendar Math Magic

Calendars are amazing and fun.

Click here for  the Calendar Math Magic larger video!

MisterNumbers shows you how to instantly tell what day of the week any date is. It is surprisingly easy, mostly magic and some math. This is a skill that you can use for the rest of your life, and impress others daily. It is also a great skill to teach kids. Calendars can teach PRACTICAL MATH, useful to students.
Calendar curiosity can lead to learning the seasons, history, astronomy, science, cultures, time awareness, as well as grounding students in the social agreements.
This calendar method is based on work by a Math and Toastmaster friend, Bruce Swasey. Thanks Bruce for your help and willingness to share your genius.

There are Key dates in each year and A KEY DAY each year (in 2013 the KEY DAY is THURSDAY):







Feb 7, 14, 21, 28 (last day of February, 7 days in a week)

March 7, 14, 21, 28

Fourth of July

7,14, 21,28 of November

Jan 31, and 3rd


Key Day for year 2013 = 20 THirteen = THursday

Key Day for year 2014 = 20 Fourteen = Friday

Key Day for year 2015 = Saturday

Each year the Key Day moves 1 day forward (except leap years leap 2  days forward). More specifics about Leap Year in the Ebook. But we don’t have to deal with Leap Year for 3 years.

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Dec 04 2012

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How to Easily Create Number Squares from 1-50

MisterNumbers shares an awesome brand new Right Brain pattern that young kids can write out the squares of numbers 1-50 in under 3 minutes (about as fast as they can write them). Kids understand squares, create a structure for memorizing them, and see the bigger picture. All they need is to know the squares of 1-4 and add a number 10 or under to another number. Also helps them understand place value and digits. A cool math trick.

Watch the video below to see how to create the squares to  40, 50, or higher. You will be amazed at how easy and fun it is.

1) Bring 0s and 5s over to the Ones-Digit (Onesies) column
2) Below each zero, put in 1-4-9-6 pattern going DOWN (go  all the way down)
3) Above each zero, put in 1-4-9-6 pattern going UP (I start at the bottom and work my way up)
4) Draw a line under each 9
5) Start first section in Tens-Digits (Tensies) with 0, then go up by 1, 2, 3, etc in each section  (watch video above if any of this is not clear)

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Oct 04 2012

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Discovering a Kid-Friendly Path to Math that’s Fun, Easy, and Effective

Eight Great Ways to Learn Math the Pattern Play, right brain Way

I have discovered a fantastic, kid-friendly way to teach the times tables that has generated excitement among teachers, students, and over a million viewers on YouTube. I’d like to share with you how I came upon this amazing path to fun, easy math.

Have you ever heard of the Calvin and Hobbs cartoons? Calvin, a little kid with a BIG imagination, has a stuffed tiger named Hobbs, who comes alive and talks with him. I’d like to share with you Calvin’s take on math: he says to Hobbs, “I’ve been thinking and I think mathematics is not a science, it is a religion.” Hobbs says, “A religion, you say?” “Yes, it is full of miracles. You take two numbers and add them and magically get an entirely different number. You have to believe it or not. Why, this math book is full of things that have to be accepted on faith. I tell you, it is a religion.” Hobbs exclaims, “And in the public schools too, no less. Call a lawyer!” Calvin reasons, “As a math atheist, I should be excused from this.

Calvin, and a large majority of kids, are creative, imaginative right-brain thinkers, who learn by seeing the big picture. However, most children are taught math in a rote, left-brain way and feel bad about math and themselves for not understanding it, and, like Calvin, they become math atheists.

Five years ago I was working at a Charter school and I was asked to prepare kids for standardized tests in math. It went well until one day I was working with Betty, a 5th grade student who refused to even look at a math problem. She said, ‘Nooo, I don’t want to. It’s too hard.” Dejected, she put her head on the desk, saying, “I can’t do math.”

Like Calvin, Betty was a math atheist, with a right-brain learning style and the way  math was usually taught just didn’t make sense to her. So, feeling inspired, I had her create the Ones using patterns, and then the Twos using other patterns. We were simply playing with patterns, but after a while I helped her find patterns that revealed the big picture of the entire times table! It all began to make sense to her. Seeing is believing.

The next day I came into the room to work with another student and Betty waved to me enthusiastically and said, “I’m using the paper for all my math problems,” referring to the paper we had scribbled on the day before. She now had an entirely different attitude about math, and about herself.

I worked on the times table that night, expanding this pattern discovery process, and I tried a new version the next day with more students. They had the same positive reaction that Betty had! Kids loved this right-brained approach to math, and teachers and the principal loved it too (as well as parents, particularly home-schooling parents).

I continued to play with and expand this visual right-brain math approach, and posted free videos on YouTube, revealing in playful and animated patterns the bigger picture of math. Everybody encouraged me to share this gift with the world. I named this system Pattern Play Math and I became Mister Numbers.

My intention with this expanding right brain math approach is to help kids feel good about math, and themselves, and help them become math believers. In addition to over a million views on Youtube, I have received hundreds of enthusiastic responses  from students, teachers, and parents  who have been thrilled to find a kid-friendly, fun, easy, and effective path to math.

Tom Biesanz
AKA MisterNumbers
And author of the book, Right Brain Math and MisterNumbers DVD and 5 iphone apps

Resource box:

To see MisterNumbers Free videos on Youtube:

To get Free worksheets:

To order Tom’s book “Right Brain Math” and/or DVD:

IPhone apps

To contact Tom, email

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Aug 28 2012

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How to become a Walking Calendar

Walking Calendar Revised
What day of the week is that?

Now you can know in seconds without a calendar.  Remember 4/4 (April 4th), 6/6 (June 6th) 8/8 (Aug 8th), 10/10 (Oct 10th) and 12/12 (Dec 12th). These dates  are 63 days apart (9 weeks exactly), so they all fall on the same day of the week. This year it is Wednesday. What about February? Feb 28 (or this year is leap year Feb 29th) are 35 days (5 weeks) before 4/4 so it is on a Wednesday. Add that the Fourth of July is 28 days after June 6th is also on a Wednesday. Next year (2013) all these dates will be on Thursday. In 2014, all these dates will be on Friday, and in 2015, all these dates will be on Saturday. Cool!

Add the little jingle: “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November” (all the rest have 31, except for February) and you can easily figure out which day of the week any date falls on for the next 3 years. Of course this is a perpetual system, so expand this for the next 2o-50 years if you so desire. Wow, numbers are cool friends!

Examples: Friends and Family birthdays and Holidays

For 2012 first: There are several ways to find each answer.

Feb 23: We know Feb 29 is a Wed, so it is six days earlier, a Friday.

Mar 17: Since Feb 29th is Wed, March 1 is Thursday, 16 days (2 wks 2 days) later would be Saturday.

April 9: Since 4/4 is Wednesday, 5 days later is a Monday (did you get it by going back two days?)

May 2: Since 4/4 is Wednesday, and 30 days in April, May 2 is the same day as April 32, 4 weeks later than the 4th, and also a Wednesday.

June 10: 6/6 is a Wed, so 6/10 is four days later, Sunday.

July 13: Fourth of July is Wednesday, so 9 days later is a Friday.

August 9: 8/8 is a Wed so it is a Thursday.

Sept 6: 8/8 is Wed and 31 days in Aug, so 29 (31-2) days later is a Thursday

Oct 13: Easy, we know 10/10 is a Wed this year, so 10/13 is on Saturday.

Dec  9: We know 12/12 is a Wed so 12/9 is 3 days earlier, a Sunday.

Christmas – Again 12/12 is a Wed, so 12/25 is 13 days later, also a Tuesday.

Jan 1, 2013 We know the 12 of Dec (2012) is a Wed and there are 31 days so Jan 1 (Dec 32nd?)  is 20 days later, a Tuesday.

2013 Birthdays and Holidays All days are one day later than 2012 dates, or you can figure them out (all dates (4/4, 6/6, 8/8 etc) are now on Thursday)

This Perpetual Calendar not a good fit for every kid to do a full follow through, but even if they play with 4/4, 6/6, 8/8 etc, they can have fun and have a structure for visualizing and learning math and calendars.

And a kid (or an adult) who gets fascinated with this is going to learn:

Practical math

Fluency in Addition, Subtraction, multiplication (by 7s)

Number of days in a year

Number of months in a year

Number of days in each month

Name and number value of each month

Week circle is 7 days so 5 days back is 2 days forward.

Pride in amazing adults and other kids at their skill

Practice visualizing a calendar and numbers

A useful tool that they can use the rest of their life.

They could also learn about:

Blue moon definition


Much more

Tricks: 4/4 in 2013 is a Thursday, so Feb 1 and March 1 will be a day later (Friday in 2013)

You can fascinate kids with this and then have them prove how  and why it works!  Enjoy!

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