Questions & AnswersProductsAbout Mitch Adler


Dear Mitch,


Is your website on summer vacation? Because you used to put up a lot of letters but you haven't done any in a while.

I also saw that you stopped selling your inventions on your "products" page, saying you'd bring them back different and easy to download for free. But I don't see where it lets anyone do stuff like that.

I also read somewhere that you were doing something with a museum, so can you say if it's true and tell what you're doing? Because me and my brother really liked the balancing problems with the scales that you did for a lot of the holidays.

We do a book that has a lot of them in it, but yours were fun to bring in for the holidays.

Anyway, I was just wondering, that's all.

Michael C.




Dear Michael C.,

You're correct that we took almost three months off from posting questions. We did answer almost every incoming question or comment and responded through private emails. You are also correct in noting that the products, which were initially for sale, were to be redeveloped so that visitors to the site would be able to download whichever product they wished.

So, where have we been?

Well, in order to continue to grow as a thinker, I believe that 'book knowledge' alone is not enough. Sitting down with a pencil & paper, textbooks and instructor is an excellent and important part of learning, but by itself that method doesn't always guarantee a fully complete circuit. It is necessary to be able to APPLY what you have learned, no matter how abstract the topic, and, ideally, to do so when meeting a real-world challenge. Using the principles of measurement, for example, to figure out which size shampoo or box of cereal makes the most sense to purchase, THAT'S when the learning really clicks and makes connections with other things you've learned. And that's when whatever it is that you've learned actually helps you.

During our 2-month in-house break, I combined and applied various things I've learned. And, as i've mentioned before, the way I often apply what I know is through what I call creative recycling. This time I made a round, children's table out of a large spool. It was one of those spools that you see in a hardware store, to hold chain or thick sailing rope.

I cut a hole in the center part (the tube separating the two circles) and built a simple drawer out of a milk carton, child-proofed it so that toddlers would not be abe to open the drawer and remove swallow-able game pieces. I painted the entire spool with Dr. Seuss' spectacular Lorax as the main character and painted Truffula trees around it to continue the theme.

That table, which I rescued when it was still just an empty spool about to be thrown into a dumpster, is now being enjoyed by Florida children and their parents, as it is on permanent exhibition at one of my favorite places in this country, The Children's Garden in Sarasota, Florida. As always, there is math behind several aspects of the process of transforming 'junk' into art, but the most basic piece of math is this: I subtracted one medium/large spool from some overcrowded landfill, and I added it to a magical place where, I hope, it will not only bring smiles to visitors, but possibly inspire others to think of ways to subtract a few things from the mountain of discarded items that go into landfills every day, adding them to our supply of good and useful items.

Primarily, though, I devoted time to one of the activities I love most, tutoring. Classroom teaching, which I did for several years, is exciting, challenging, and rewarding, but private tutoring, when one is able to customize each and every session to target that student's learning style, is typically so powerful that it leaves ALL parties, including the teacher, stunned. In fact, one-on-one is not only the best way for some students to learn, but it shocks observers who discover that most students can learn and master an entire year's textbook in a couple of months of private sessions.

Beginning about one week from now, regardless of the fact that it's a point on the calendar where we begin the year's longest break from academics and school, we at will be beginning our own season of summer math!


Hope this make sense.

And thank you for your patience and loyalty.

Give us a little longer, and we'll be back!


-- Mitch