Captivating Workbook Makes Math Fun for Kids

By Ani Shahinian

Asbarez Staff Writer

Though most might not necessarily use the words "fun" and "math" in the same sentence–Viken "Vik" Hovsepian and Michael Hattar have found a way to not only make mathematics understandable–but also attention-grabbing.

Their workbook–"Math is Fun," printed by Harcourt School Publishers–was written for the sole purpose of encouraging students to explore math problems they may encounter in everyday life. As the subject may not be the easiest for many students–it is nevertheless the teacher’s job to make it seem simple and fun.

"Math is Fun is for the use and benefit of young students who are eager to learn–as well as for entertainment of mathematics instructors in teaching the subject," say the authors.

The booklet contains a select number of fascinating problems and puzzles that Hovsepian and Hattar have compiled and created over the years–as they say humorously–"with lots of sweat–lots of tears–lots of love–and maybe even a little blood."

Viken Hovsepian–a graduate of UCLA–has taught many age groups–from 3rd grade to the college level. He is currently a mathematics instructor and department chair at Glendale Unified School District’s Hoover High School–as well as a Professor of Mathematics at Rio Hondo College and Pasadena City College. He is one of the writers of the current k-12 California Mathematics Framework and Math Content Review Panelist for the State of California.

Michael Hattar has also been a mathematics instructor from grades 8 through college. He is the winner of numerous educator awards–and is currently a Professor of Mathematics at Don Bosco Technical School–Mount San Antonio College–and Rio Hondo College.

Imagine this: It’s a regular school day at Hoover High School and you’re sitting in Mr. Hovsepian’s math class. US billionaire and philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian shows up as a guest in his classroom–accompanied by GUSD Board President Greg Krikorian–Superintendent Dr. Michael Escalante–and Hoover High School Co-Principals Hasmik Danielian and Kevin Welsh. Kerkorian presents a challenge to the students–without giving too many details–he mumbles something to Hovsepian in Armenian about the possibility of an all expense paid trip to Europe–along with matching funds as a donation to Hoover High. The catch: You’ll have two payment options and must choose the best one–present it in writing–using mathematical analysis–in the next 10 minutes. Two students win and pack their bags as they head off with Mr. Kerkorian.

Although this dream come true didn’t actually happen–it is one of the exciting mathematics fantasies included in the latest edition of the workbook. For more information email: vhovsepian@riohondo.edu or mzhattar@aol.com.

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