100-Year-Old Math Teacher

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

100-Year-Old Math Teacher

October 22, 2014

100 is a great number, and it’s even better if it’s your age — and you’re a math teacher. Madeline Scotto just turned 100 years old last week, and is still working 3 days a week as a math-team coach. For years she’s taught and coached at St. Ephrem’s Elementary School in Brooklyn, New York, the same school she went to herself as part of its very first graduating class. She started teaching there when she was 40, and we’re sure she learned her math well as a kid: she grew up back when we didn’t yet have calculators or computers to help us along. While most people “retire” at age 65 (stop working and live on their savings), Madeline is still playing with numbers with her students, some of whom are the children of students she had long ago. At age 100 she has a full life, as she has 5 children, 9 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. She won’t use a cane or join a senior citizens club because awesomely, she just doesn’t think of herself as old — no matter what the numbers say.

Wee ones: If Madeline has 5 children and 9 grandchildren, does she have more children or grandchildren?

Little kids: How old will Madeline be a year from now?  Bonus: If Madeline started teaching at age 40 and is now 100, how many decades has she been teaching? (Hint if needed: A decade is 10 years.)

Big kids: If Madeline has 5 children, 9 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, how many descendants does she have in total?  Bonus: If she’s taught since she was 40 and has had 20 students every year, how many students has this amazing lady taught?




Wee ones: More grandchildren.

Little kids: 101 years old.  Bonus: 6 decades, since she’s been teaching for 60 years.

Big kids: 30 descendants.  Bonus: 1,200 students over 60 years!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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