Greg Tang

Greg Tang For the past 10 years, Greg Tang has travelled across the United States doing more than 1,500 conferences, workshops and school visits. Along the way, he has taught more than 250,000 children and adults, helped write several math textbooks, authored 8 children’s books including a NY Times best seller, and created a family of innovative math puzzles and games.

Now, Greg is putting everything he has learned and created on one website. It is an important part of his mission to help children and adults of all ages become better in math. Greg is working hard to create better teaching methods, shift the focus to more critical, abstract thinking skills, and make important mathematical concepts easier and more intuitive.

Philosophy. Greg believes that to be good in math, children need to learn to think abstractly at an early age. When kids learn to think abstractly and efficiently about numbers in groups rather than counting or memorizing, they can be taught common sense strategies that make calculations fast and easy. Being able to connect and generalize these strategies across problems and operations is the key to thinking algebraically and the secret to being smart.

It is a common misconception that people who are good in math are good at memorizing. Quite the contrary, they’re abstract thinkers who are good at understanding and generalizing concepts, then applying them to different problems and situations.

We ask kids to solve problems quickly in their heads, and to use specific strategies in order to develop specific skills. The result is kids who have great computational skills, strong mental math skills, and the abstract, algebraic thinking skills needed for higher math.

Our activities are not only packed with great math, they're also so fun they’re addicting - in a good way! Each activity has a clever twist or compelling hook that grabs a kid's attention and makes them want to play more. For math activities to be effective, kids have to play them enough to get the repetition and practice needed for true mastery.

Break Apart
Break Apart. “I created BreakApart to teach kids the best strategies for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. When kids learn the proper techniques, arithmetic is easy and more advanced concepts follow naturally. We’ve included strategies that develop great mental math skills and we’ve sequenced them to develop the algebraic thinking skills required for higher math.”

Numskill. “With Numskill, my goal was to give kids a fun way to master their addition facts. But instead of giving kids a problem and asking them to figure out the answer, I realized it’s more beneficial if they have to figure out both the problem and the answer. This increases the number of problems they have to solve, and adding color increases it even more. Lots of practice is the key to mastery.”

Kakooma. “Numskill gave me the idea for Kakooma. One day it occurred to me that a series of Numskill-type problems could be used to create one final problem. This “puzzle-in-a-puzzle” idea became the unique twist that makes Kakooma so compelling. Solve a series of mini-puzzles and their answers turn into another puzzle! We started with addition of positive whole numbers and now have negative numbers, fractions, and multiplication.”

Math Limbo. “I created Math Limbo to help my own kids become better at math. The reason it’s such an important game is that it gives kids practice in breaking numbers apart. There are many games that teach addition, but very few focus on decomposing numbers. Even fewer make a connection to subtraction as well. Together with my other games, Math Limbo gives kids the practice they need to develop great computational skills.”

Harvard Background. Greg has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics from Harvard, and a master’s degree in math education from NYU. He is a certified middle and high school math teacher and an adjunct Professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Greg writes children’s picture books as an author for Scholastic. He is also an author for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s elementary math textbook program. His work has been included in many other major textbook programs in the United States as well, including Math Expressions, Go Math, Everyday Math and Investigations.