About Zach's Backpack

Some believe that there are people who can do math and people who can not. Those who believe this might have been told directly or indirectly while growing up that they fit into the can or can't category. This idea that someone is naturally good or not good at math causes kids (us) to accept that they might not be able to "get math" at an early age and so give up. As a result, we live in a society where it is acceptable to declare, “I’m not a math person.”

The capacity to learn mathematics is not genetic.s. EVERYONE has the potential do be a mathematician! We want to work with you and your child to feel competent in mathematics. With that competence we will be able to promote the joy that mathematic learning and talking brings.  When kids see success in math as only being able to recall facts quickly, they miss out on the vital opportunity to share strategies that show how they got the correct answer . What if sharing ways to solve a problem and understanding how the answer was thought about was celebrated? What if you and your child could do this at home? What if family time included talking about numbers and playing strategy games? 


The goal for Zach’s Backpack is to provide a way for families to have fun practicing math that focuses on how each person got their answer instead of just having the answer.  This way, the facts become meaningful because you understand the thinking behind the answer. This site will show you how to use things around the house to play games that emphasize mathematical thinking, you and your family can talk about mathematics informally all the time. Without seeing math as something you do a certain hour of the day or something that is confined to a worksheet. Zach’s Backpack will provide you and your family with a ton of opportunities to have fun and share in mathematical thinking!

About Me: The Brains Behind The Backpack


Hello! I’m Monica Cavender. I am known as a mathematics education fanatic! I am passionate about teaching and learning elementary mathematics and look forward to sharing games with families to make math learning an opportunity for  tons of smiles. I have been teaching mathematics to all ages for 30 years. I have a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction. My mission is to support children in their success around mathematical thinking. I strive to promote the fun in talking about mathematical ideas. I've created this website as a tool to help families find joy in playing a game and talking about individual ideas, much like is done with a good movies or book. I also love the beach and laughing with family & friends.  

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