Manhattan Beach Chemistry Tutors’ Take: The Struggle of Stoichiometry

April 3rd, 2016

The Struggle of Stoichiometry

We get it! This stuff is tricky. Our Manhattan Beach Chemistry Tutors have created a great outline to help assist you with all of your stoichiometry needs. Take your time and follow our step-by-step guide to solving a stoichiometry problem. Here we go!

Think of these problems as a recipe. If a cake recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of flour to make 1 cake, how many cups of sugar and flour do we need for 5 cakes? This is stoichiometry. The sugar and flour are our reactants and the cake is our product. Also- we need to measure sugar and flour in a universal unit in order to compare. We don’t measure them in weight because or number of particles, because these can vary based on the size of the sugar and flour particles. Instead, we measure them in something universally recognized and standardized: the cup. In stoichiometry, we use the universal unit called a mole (6.022 x 1023 atoms/particles). We use moles when comparing molecules.

Let’s try a problem!

  1. Write out your reaction. Be sure to pay close attention to your charges. Keep a polyatomic ion chart handy for this. Remember, cations come first, anions come second.
  2. Balance your equations. Save Oxygen for second to last and Hydrogen for last. This will save you a lot of time.
  3. Understand what the question is asking. Am I given grams? Am I given moles? Are they asking me to answer in moles, grams, or particles/molecules?
  4. Write the given amount under your ion/compound and draw an arrow to the ion/compound they want you to answer with.
  5. Set up your problem. Remember to use your mole-to-mole ratio. Those coefficients are there for a reason!
  6. Answer in the correct number of significant figures and box your answer.
  7.  Double-check your work. Did you answer the original question?


Great job! You’re a stoichiometry master. If you’re still confused, come see one of our Manhattan Beach Chemistry tutors today!

Manhattan Beach tutor

October 5th, 2015
Manhattan Beach tutor

I love my job at Study Hut Tutoring… and this Portuguese Water Dog!

Being a Manhattan Beach tutor at Study Hut Tutoring has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of working in education because of my own educational experience, which I believe was excellent, and made me want to be able to give as many Manhattan Beach students as possible the help that they need to have an equally excellent educational experience.  Each time a student comes and sits with their favorite Manhattan Beach tutor, me, I am reminded of the joy I get when I foster that eureka moment in my student.  It is so satisfying to see the light-bulb go on as a result of my instruction!

One of my favorite topics as a Manhattan Beach tutor at Study Hut Tutoring is lower level math because I feel that many students often get pushed away from math early on because they see very few practical applications for what they are learning. In order to combat this I do my best to explain to my students from Manhattan Beach Middle School (MBMS) and the other Manhattan Beach schools how what they are learning now will eventually be applied to their future studies. I believe that I am a unique pre-algebra and algebra 1 tutor because I have been exposed to higher level math (such as multivariable calculus and linear algebra) so I am able to explain what by Manhattan Beach students are studying in a great deal of depth and give them an idea of how what they are learning now will be applied later.

In addition to tutoring math, I also love to tutor history. I absolutely love history and love being able to see students become engaged in what they are learning. As a Manhattan Beach tutor, specifically for history, I do my best to place as much emphasis as possible on the story rather than the tedious task of memorizing dates and facts. The stories really are compelling.  Once students connect to the emotion of where we are, memorizing is so much easier.  I find that those come much easier when intertwined into an engaging story. Being able to spark an interest in a Mira Costa or MBMS student in history for the first time is absolutely amazing.

Chinese tutoring taking over the world…one student at a time

June 14th, 2012

Study Hut offers Spanish and French tutoring and, of course, English; Chinese was, up until recently, a rough subject for tutors and students alike, ranking itself as, in all righteousness, one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn and acquire.
I am, although Chinese in nature, unfortunately, not a native Chinese speaker; ergo, I was initially uncomfortable — hesitant — with tutoring such a complex language. With this gracelessness notwithstanding, I sat down with Middle School enthusiast, Rees, and began what I would categorize as an extremely productive session where we went through the fundamentals of common Chinese dialogue. Writing Chinese characters was, surprisingly, a “cinche”, and Rees and I sped through a decent amount of material in a relatively short amount of time. Whereas I distinctly remember Chinese being rather abstract and difficult to comprehend, I was pleasantly taken aback by the current academic approach to Chinese as a foreign language, a consequence of crossing the cultural divide — integration at its best — globalizing and simplifying a language crucial to the growing world economy.
Chinese still lacks the omnipresence and fluency of English, ergo, making America the dominating country in the world, but this ancient language is steadily growing into a universal medium for commercial communication. Therefore, it is with great joy that Study Hut now offers Chinese as one of our subjects. We are extremely excited to support our students with this new systemic development!

Why Do I Have to Know This?

December 1st, 2011

I’ve been tutoring for a while now. Before coming to the Study Hut, I
worked as a private tutor and substitute teacher in New Jersey for
about 4 years. During that time, there was one question I was asked
over and over again. It had nothing to do with sines or cosines. It
had no relation to bicameral legislature. And it bared no resemblance
to anything in chemistry. The question was a simple one: WHY DO I HAVE

And parents, let’s be fair; we’ve ALL asked this in the past. We’ve
all experience the study session where we have to answer 14 questions
relating to alternate interior angles, and we couldn’t think of a
single instance when we’d use the information in real life. We were
usually given the same excuses as well:

-“Maybe you’ll have a job with a lot of math.”

-“You’ll need to know it to get into college.”

-“You need to know it because it’s ON THE TEST.”

-“Because I said so.”

All valid. All true. But none of these speak to the average Manhattan
Beach student. And, let’s face it, how often DO you use trigonometry
and chemistry in your real life? (Engineers and doctors, put your
hands down, I was being rhetorical.)

This is how I try to explain the value of education to my students:

When you go to the gym, you do pushups. Are you doing this because of
how often you push yourself up in real life? No. You do it because it
trains your body, and allows it to do other physical activities when
you need to. It makes your body strong. And to get strong, your body
needs to do a variety of exercises. Just doing pushups wont cut it.

It’s the same thing with your mind. You’re not going through Trig and
Chem and Bio and History because of how often you’ll use them in real
life. You’re taking these classes in order to TRAIN YOUR MIND HOW TO
THINK. You’re making your mind strong, so that, later in life, it will
be ready for when you really need it. By studying so many different
subjects, you’re practicing the fine arts of thinking analytically and
critically, which is beyond important in any career.

Plus, memorizing the state capitals is a great trick at parties.

Staying on task

October 31st, 2011

Here at Study Hut in Manhattan Beach, we know that there’s more to academic success than simply knowing the material. Organizational skills and general study tricks are perhaps the most important “subjects” we teach, because without them it’s difficult to stay on top of the ever-growing workload of high school.

We, the super smart and super awesome tutors of Study hut, develop customized study plans for every student that walks through our doors, based on their own habits and personalities. However, here are a few basic strategies that can work for anyone who’s having troubles with procrastination (read: everyone).

1. Designate Goof Off Time
Nobody is a machine. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a subject that you love so much that homework is actually fun (yay physics!)
However, a lot of the time you’re going to have to deal with subjects that you straight up don’t like. And that’s alright! However, there’s a physical limit to how much loathsome boredom a human can take before they get distracted and goof off.
And that’s alright, too!
The trick is to actually portion off part of your day to goof off – that can mean facebook, video games, TV, or whatever else.
These things are fine in small quantities, and they make your life more fun! So give yourself over to them, but for a set period that you’ve planned for ahead of time.
The other way – checking facebook every time you feel like it during your problem sets – is incredibly distracting, hinders your progress, and thus ends up stressing you out even more.

2. Page Blockers
If you’re having troubles staying off of fun pages, try downloading a page blocker. There are lots of them online, but a few great ones are “Concentrate” and “Self-Control”. They work by physically disabling your browser’s ability to visit certain sites for a pre-determined amount of time.
This serves as a sort of guardrail; if you feel like procrastinating for a tiny bit they’ll help keep you on track.
However, they aren’t cure-alls: just like real guard rails, if you’re really determined to go off the trail you’ll be able to hop over them easily enough. However, they do serve as reminders about where your priorities should lie.

3. Enjoy the process!
It is much easier to work if you enjoy the process. Sometimes that’s difficult, but there are things you can do to improve it. Choose a room that’s pleasant to you, one that you will enjoy working in.
Playing music while you study can be a big help. It can be marginally distracting, but sometimes that’s a sacrifice that’s worth making. If you have to choose between working at 90% efficiency because you’re listening to music, or working at 5% efficiency because you’re constantly getting bored and taking breaks, then that’s not really any choice at all, is it?
Enjoy the process, or if you can’t, make it enjoyable.

4. Healthful snacks in small quantities
Lay off the sugar and junk food. Small doses of healthful foods keep your energy up and keep you focused. Almonds, walnuts, carrots, broccoli, and dried fruit are all great choices. Overly sweet things like candy or poptarts send your blood sugar into a tail spin, and release hormones that make staying focused difficult. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with a poor diet.

5. Don’t use these tips to procrastinate.
This is the important. It’s easy to think that “applying” tips like these is productive work. And to a certain extent that’s true.
But, if you find yourself spending twenty minutes reading reviews about the best page blockers, or preparing a gourmet snack tray, or meticulously organizing your iTunes folder into different playlists for each subject, then, well… We see the problem here, yes?
Apply these tips, but bear in mind that the final goal is to actually get your schoolwork done.

That’s it for now! Call Study Hut in Manhattan Beach for more information about how to study right and slaughter your coursework and SATs

The Study Hut is THE place to do school work

September 29th, 2011

I’m sure there are plenty of tutoring spots in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and countless more in the south bay but I’m in inclined to believe that few can measure up to The Study Hut in Manhattan Beach.  Many parents struggle with where to send their children to get some help.  They try to give their children a leg up so they maybe they won’t have to struggle as much in the future.  The choices for giving a child an advantage can be mind boggling at times. There are so many places making claims about improving grades and how they will accomplish this amazing transformation in your child.  They make promises of making them an “A” student over night. The truth is there is no magic formula.  There is no making your child an overnight genius. Change comes with work and constant work to boot.  The work is a communal project; it can’t come in a tutor session alone.  Now, this is the place where the real separation comes into play. Other places say they will change the culture your child has developed but only care about what occurs in the tutoring session only. However the dedicated folks at the study hut aka the hut make sure to communicate with the parents on the work which is accomplished and needs to be accomplished on a nightly basis.  They call home and let parents know their child still have 3 hours worth of work left and work to develop strategies to make sure this isn’t the norm. They make sure the culture created at the hut also becomes the culture the student sees at home.  Because it takes a village to raise a child, no matter how big or small the village might be.



The Importance of Failure

September 13th, 2011

You may have heard this one before. It involves a ceramics class.

It was a fairly large and popular class at the school, so the teacher had to split it into two sections: Ceramics 101a and Ceramics 101b.

The teacher, a brilliant potter but a capricious and insufferable man, decided that he’d grade each of his sections differently and arbitrarily.

On the first day of class he announced to the students of 101a the following:
“At the end of the semester you will be required to hand in one pot and one pot only. I will judge your skill, artistry, and technical prowess based on what I see in that one pot, and that in turn will decide your grade for the whole semester.”

An hour later, he announced to the students of 101b a very different message:
“At the end of the semester, I will grade your performance based solely on the number of pots you complete throughout the year. I don’t care how well they’re executed, what shape they are, or how quickly you worked on them. All I care about is how many you make. The more you make the higher your grade will be.”

In short, one group was to be evaluated on the quality of their work, and the other on their quantity.

Here’s where things get strange.

At the end of the semester, the students from the Quantity Class produced better pots than the students from the Quality Class. Far better. Truly masterful work. On the other hand, the final projects handed in by the Quality Class resembled the pots that the students from the Quantity Class were making on their first few days.

What is the lesson here? In short, it’s practice makes perfect. The only way to get to success is to first fail. To get good at something you need to do it. A lot.

So for that reason we here at Study Hut in Manhattan Beach don’t just recite information to our students and expect them to absorb it. We test them on it. Ruthlessly. We make them fail repeatedly when they’re with us, in the hopes that when they are in the exam room they will succeed.

The 3 Study Huts: Supporting Our Neighborhoods

August 18th, 2011

We all know why Study Hut is the best place to learn: it is part of the community. Today as part of my
new responsibilities as supplier-in-chief, I had to visit all 3 Hut branches and check out the supplies. One
characteristic stuck out at all three. Each felt human. Each felt like a place that cares about its students.
Each felt like it was a product of its community.

This is because Study Hut really is a product of its community. The owners hail from Mira Costa High
School. Many of our tutors are from the South Bay area. Even the plants we use to decorate our rooms
are purchased from a local Manhattan Beach vendor. We take pride that we support our hometowns.

Other franchise organizations don’t have a stake in the well-being of our neighborhoods. Study Hut
does because we were born here, we grew up here and we reside here. As a tutor, I feel part of a
family, not a company. Our students feel comfortable here, encouraging candid dialogue that really
increases a students learning capability. Our study environment is pretty much the most awesome place
ever. Epic. What other place has a jungle theme room?

Sports and tutoring are Similar

June 14th, 2011

When I’m not tutoring at Study Hut in Manhattan Beach, I like to volunteer my time as a baseball coach at Westchester Babe Ruth. I see a lot of similarities to coaching and tutoring. One of the most important aspects to both is being able to relate to players and students. I was never very receptive to the old, over the hill baseball coaches because it’s hard to relate to them. Besides baseball, there’s not too much we have in common and it’s very hard to build a rapport with them. I feel the same can be said with tutoring, because I’m not too far removed from high school its a lot easier for the other tutors and me to relate to the students. When you are in a comfortable environment, it just provides a solid learning experience. Another very interesting relationship is the amount of work both students and baseball players put into their respective fields. No one is born an All Star or brainiac, it takes a lot of effort and hard work. The best players on the field and the best students in the classroom share a common characteristic and that’s work ethic. The ones that put the extra effort in more often than not are the ones who excel in sports or school. One thing I try to stress to my students from Mira Costa and Manhattan Beach Middles School is that they should never sacrifice their schoolwork for sports. A few of my high school students think that just because they play sports they can just cruise through high school. This is most definitely not the case. If they have ambitions to play collegiate they first must have the grades to get in college, and they will also need strong study skills. Road games in college drag student athletes out of classes for days if not weeks. If they haven’t established strong study skills in high school, they are doomed in college. Luckily the student athletes have a resource like Study Hut at their finger tips, and can learn the skills to succeed in the classroom.

You Are Not the Subjects You Study

May 18th, 2011

As a parent, you know that your child is a complex individual, full of surprises.  You know their dreams and aspirations, their fears and dislikes, what influences and what motivates them.  You know that though they may grow bored at school, frustrated with teachers or affected by their peers, that if someone could find the key to tap into your child’s potential they would shine as brightly as they do in your eyes.  It is this uniqueness that we try to cultivate.  There are a few special ingredients that make Study Hut such a sweet place to learn and one of them is that we recognize each student’s individuality.  Tutors are paired students that allow us to foster genuine connections and have a real positive influence.  That’s why we enjoy being tutors.  While many of our tutors can teach multiple subjects, Study Hut takes the time to place students according to their personality and ambitions.  Seeing our students strive for the same goals we’ve have strived for inspires us and we pass this inspiration onto our students.

A real understanding of who your child is also helps us tutor more effectively.  Biology becomes a basketball team, physics becomes skate boarding and statistics becomes the probability the Lakers will win the championship (100%, of course!)  Students are no longer just another face in a sea of students but part of the Study Hut family.  Every child learns differently, and relates differently.  Parents know this for their children; tutors should know this for their students.  We don’t just teach a child, we teach your child.