"When aliens come to earth they'll speak math, not English," says a sign on the wall inside Mathnasium, a mathematics learning center on 1109 Fair Oaks Ave. in South Pasadena. Attributed to a 10-year-old boy identified only as David, the sign is testimony not only to the importance of mathematics in an increasingly high-tech world but also to the idea that learning the subject can be fun.
Indeed, teaching math to children in a way that they can relate to the subject is the key to their success, says Larry Chairez, the center director of South Pas's Mathnasium. Since if opened in 2009, the center has helped hundreds of kids get a tight grip on math, boosting their confidence along with their grades.
How does Mathnasium do that? By following Einstein's dictum, which is prominently displayed on the wall, near the sign about aliens. "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler," it reads. After all, any communication with aliens would seem to require a certain level of complexity.