Charmy and Cream, along with Cheese the Chao, were enjoying their first night all together watching one of Cream's favorite programs. This one taught kids about numbers and anything else that has to do with numbers.
"So when you add one thing with another, you get two," said a girl on TV. She was explaining probably one of the easiest (and possibly most famous) math problems ever, 1 + 1.
Then Cream said to her new brotherly friend, "Hey, Charmy, these numbers give me an idea. I remember the time when Amy and Tiff taught me how to read and write the letters of the alphabet and in my name. Why don't we invite them over again and teach us math?"
"I'm not sure, Cream," Charmy said. "I never went to school all my life; all I ever do is just goof around and not do any work for my friends."
"Well, that needs to change," Cream continued. "I always do what I'm told to do, and you're gonna do the same thing from now on."
Cream and Charmy left the room and into the kitchen. Vanilla was reading the news in the dining room table. "Mommy, Charmy and I were watching this new show about numbers, and I was thinking, is it okay if we invite Amy and Tiff as our math tutors for a while, please?"
"I don't see why not, dears," Vanilla said. "I'll call them right now to see if they have time to teach you kids."
She dialed Tiff's phone number first. Tiff, who was doing calculus in her library, heard the phone ring. She picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hello, Tiff," Vanilla answered. "I have a question. Would it be okay if you and Amy became Cream and Charmy's math tutors?"
"That's a great idea," Tiff replied. "In fact, we'll bring over some stuff that will make learning math really fun! What time should we arrive to your house?"
"Just like before, at 10:00 in the morning and not a minute later."
"You got it! Okay, I'll see you tomorrow. Bye!"
Then Tiff hung up her phone and went back to her calculus lessons that she was still self-teaching. One minute later, she heard the door open. Her boyfriend, Buto, came inside.
"What's up, Tiff?"
"Hi, Buto. I was just working on some calculus. It's one of the hardest math subjects ever made, especially for mathematicians."
"I can help you with some of those lessons you're doing. I know a little calculus."
"I'm not sure, Buto; knowing a little calculus is still not gonna be enough to conquer even the most complicated math problems in this book. And speaking of math problems, Amy and I are going to teach Cream and Charmy some first grade math beginning tomorrow."
"Well, what can I do?" asked Buto.
"You should just stay at home and play with Tuff and Kirby, until I come back."
The next morning, Tiff prepared the materials she needed for the lesson plans. She packed a notebook, a pack of flash cards, two copies of a first-grade math workbook, and a jar of chocolate candies into her bag.
Taking the supplies with her, she walked the same long distance like many times before -- down the road, across the beach, into Station Square, and once again, to Amy's house. She dropped the heavy bag onto the ground and knocked on the door. Amy opened it.
"You ready, Amy?" she asked.
"I'm ready if you are," Amy replied. "It's my first time in teaching math ever."
Tiff lifted her bag up again, and she and Amy left Amy's house. They passed the woods and found Cream's house not too far by. As they got there, Amy rang the doorbell.
"I'm coming," Vanilla called, even though the girls could barely hear her. Amy and Tiff saw the young woman rabbit open the door in front of them.
"Hello there, girls. Please, do come in," she said. Amy and Tiff entered through the door. As they got in, Vanilla called, "Cream! Charmy! Your tutors have arrived!"
Cream and Charmy came out of their rooms. But they didn't come out together. Cream came out of her room first, then Charmy followed. Amy and Tiff were unpacking the things Tiff brought with her for the lesson.
When they got to the dining room, Charmy asked, "Hey, Cream, why are Amy and that friend of hers our tutors?"
"I've had them last time back when they taught me my ABCs. They're here again today, only this time we're going to learn math," Cream said quietly.
The two youngsters sat down at the dining room table. When Amy and Tiff were done preparing for the math lessons, Tiff said, "Welcome to your private math class. Amy and I will once again be your designated teachers. Today will be learning about numbers, without using a TV set."
"Without a TV set?" Charmy began to complain. "How can we learn numbers without--"
"Ah, ah, ah! No interrupting while Tiff and I are talking!" Amy stopped him.
"Oops, sorry," Charmy said.
"Thank you, Charmy," Amy continued. "All right, shall we begin?"
"We're ready," Cream replied.
Tiff and Amy gave their two students each a math workbook, then they gave them each number-two pencils. "Hey, what is this thing?" asked Charmy.
"That's a pencil. It's something you write with," Amy told him.
Tiff opened her copy of the workbook to the first page. "Now then, the lesson begins right now," she said. "Before we start, though, Charmy, I will teach you how to write your name."
She took out a notebook, ripped off two pages, and gave it to Charmy. Charmy got his pencil ready. "I'll spell the letters out for you, and Amy will instruct you on how to write the letters. Amy, go ahead."
"Okay, Charmy, the first letter in your name is a C. Now, the letter C is like a half moon, with an opening on the right. I'll write it first, then you write it after me."
Amy wrote the letter C on the piece of paper, then Charmy did the same thing, only his letter C was a lot bigger than Amy's.
"Very good, only try not to write too big next time, okay?"
"Okay, now try writing the rest of the letters in your name. Tiff, if you may do the honors."
Tiff began spelling out Charmy's name. "C -- but we know you already wrote that -- H, A, R, M, Y."
Amy wrote the letters in Charmy's name on the same piece of paper, then handed it back to Charmy. The young bee began writing the rest of his name next to his version of the letter C, in the same big lowercase letters.
"Good job," Amy said proudly. "Now, it's Cream's turn. Cream, let's see your name."
Cream wrote her name perfectly on her sheet of paper on the top right corner. "Well done, Cream," Tiff said. "Okay, let's not waste any more time and begin the lesson for real. First, we're going to do some counting. Open your books to page 3."
Cream and Charmy opened their books. The page they opened to showed the numbers 0 through 10, and pictures of round balls, with each number representing how many balls there were.
"For this exercise, the only thing you need to do is circle the number that tells how many of each object there are," said Amy. "For example, if there are three balloons, you circle the number 3, but not the number 4. If you're having trouble knowing how many objects there are, you can use the table on the top of the page for a hint."
Charmy and Cream counted how many objects there were in each math problem. The first one contained a picture of 1 bee. The numbers '1' and '2' were shown under the picture.
"Hey, look, it's a bee like me!" Charmy exclaimed gleefully.
"That doesn't matter, Charmy," Cream told him. "What matters now is that this is a math lesson, and we should be paying attention."
"So what are we doing?" asked Charmy.
"Let me repeat this once, and just once -- circle the correct number of how many objects you see in each problem," Amy repeated.
Cream looked at the number table first, then carefully circled the answers she thought were correct. Charmy was about to peek at her work, until Tiff warned, "Uh, uh uh, no peeking or copying off other people's answers!"
Charmy concentrated hard on the math problems. He circled his answers. They were all correct -- except for ONE. It was also the last math problem on the whole page. He thought there were 6 candy canes, and not knowing there were actually 7, he circled the number 6.
Then the two youngsters showed their work to Amy and Tiff. After their work was finished checking, Cream got 100%, but Charmy got one question wrong.
"Oh, man! I can't believe I missed one question!" Charmy said.
"Don't worry, Charmy," Amy said. "It's hard at first, but pretty soon, you'll be very good at this. Now we'll do counting with real objects. Tiff, if you please."
Tiff took out the jar of chocolate candies. "Oh, goodie! Candies!" Charmy exclaimed again.
"Hold on, Charmy," Cream said, stopping him. "I don't think Amy and Tiff want us to eat those candies right now. They're for the math lesson."
"She's right, Charmy," Amy added. "You can have the candies after the lesson is finished."
Charmy was a little disappointed. He really wanted to eat the candy so badly. Tiff took out 10 pieces of candy out of the jar. She placed three of them in front of Charmy and Cream.
"For this exercise, Amy and I will show a certain number of candies to both of you, and your job is to count how many you see in front. Who can tell how many candies there are in front of you?"
Cream raised her hand. "I know! There are 3 candies in front of us."
"Way to go, Cream!" Tiff encouraged her. She took back the candies, then Amy showed the youngsters five pieces of candy.
"Charmy, can you guess this one?" she asked.
The bee-like boy thought hard on the number of candies in front of him. He counted them to himself. "1... 2... 3... 4... 5! 5 candies."
"Well done, Charmy!" Tiff said. "Now you're getting the hang of this."
The lesson continued for another half hour. "How's the lesson, kids?" asked Vanilla as she entered the dining room.
"Just fine," Amy replied. "Charmy and Cream are doing very well, and we're almost done, too." Another five minutes later, the lesson was finally done for the day.
"Thank you, Amy, Tiff," Vanilla said. She gave them a $20 bill for being great tutors to Cream and Charmy. Then the girls left, deciding what they could do with the $20 they earned.
Then the following day, they came back to Cream's house to teach more math lessons. For Day 2, they taught Cream and Charmy a little harder set of numbers -- 11 through 20.
First, Tiff showed her two students with the next to lowest two-digit number on it -- the number 11. "This is the number eleven. It is the first number that comes after 10. Can you memorize this number without looking at it? I will show you the number as I say it out loud, then hide it before you repeat it after me. Eleven."
Tiff set the card upside down on the table. Cream repeated, "Eleven."
"Now you, Charmy," Amy said.
"E... le... ven," Charmy said slowly.
"Good job! Now I'll show you the number that comes after 11." Tiff took out another flash card. It had the numbers 1 and 2 pushed together. "This number is called 'twelve'. So repeat after me: twelve."
She flipped the card down. Cream said, "Twelve."
Charmy repeated after her, "Twelve."
"Great!" Amy said. The four continued all the way to the number 20. Along the way, Charmy had a little trouble with the numbers 15 and 20. He actually mispronounced them as 'fiveteen' and 'twenteen' in his first attempts for each number. Amy and Tiff helped him say them correctly until he did.
Then came the next exercise -- counting real objects using numbers greater than 10. This time, however, Tiff brought seashells instead of candies in the same jar she brought over.
For the first problem, Amy placed 14 seashells on the table in front of the youngsters. "How many seashells do you see on the table?" she asked.
Cream counted carefully, and memorized the numbers from 1 to 20 in her head. Then she finally said with confidence, "Fourteen."
"Very good!" Tiff said with encouragement. Then she took back the shells and placed 17 different ones on the table. "Now it's your turn, Charmy. How many seashells are on the table?"
Charmy thought hard with the numbers in his head. He did not forget the numbers 11 and 12 as he counted the shells. Then he said, "Seventeen."
"Well done!" said Amy. She and Tiff applauded at Cream and Charmy's efforts. "Now for the next part of this lesson, we'll do some number matching. So open your workbooks to page 8."
Cream and Charmy took out their workbooks and opened to the eighth page. Tiff continued, "For this part of the lesson, the goal is to match the number of objects in each picture to the correct number by drawing a connecting line from the dot near the picture to the dot near the number. The easy part of this exercise is, there are numbers not higher than 10."
Charmy looked at a blank square with nothing inside it. "Why is there a picture of nothing in one of the squares?" he asked.
"That's because one of the numbers on the right side is a 0," Amy told him.
Cream and Charmy began their work. First, they counted the number of objects shown in each picture, then looked at the numbers on the opposite side. They picked up their pencils and drew a line from each dot containing pictures of how many objects there were to each dot with the correct numbers.
But that was only half of the exercise. The other half involved matching the words with the correct numbers by drawing a connecting line between the dots with the words and their designated numbers. For example, they were to draw a line between the dot with the word 'five' and the number '5'.
Cream did her work perfectly, and Charmy made only one mistake in both parts of the exercise. However, he used his pencil eraser to correct himself before he was penalized for an incorrect answer.
After the answers got checked, both Charmy and Cream got 100% this time. "Keep up the good work, you two, and soon, you'll be mathematicians!" Amy encouraged them.
On the day after that, it was a completely new lesson -- addition. "What's addition?" asked Charmy.
"It's when you combine objects with one or more of them," Tiff told him. "People learn addition just by combining things together into larger collections."
"And to start things off, we're going to use these pieces of candies for the first problems, just so you understand how it works," Amy added.
She placed three candies on the table. "First of all, how many candies do you see near you?" Cream counted them. "Three," she answered.
"Good," Amy said. "Now watch as I add two more." She placed another two candies on the table. "Now how many do you see?"
Charmy counted the candies this time, then answered, "Five."
"Great! So remember, when you have three candies, and you add two more, you have five total -- 3 + 2 = 5. That's how addition works, got that?"
"Yes, ma'am," Charmy and Cream said in unison.
"Excellent! Now open your workbooks to pages 10 and 11. You will see your first addition problems upon doing so."
The youngsters opened their books to the tenth page. "For this exercise, you are to count the number of how many objects you see in each math problem. Between the objects is a plus sign, which is always used for addition. The plus sign is basically a cross of two lines. Another quick way you can find the answer is by counting all the objects in the whole question. I will explain no further than this, so... good luck and happy quizzing!"
Cream and Charmy began working on their math problems. Cream solved her problems by counting the objects the first addend, then the objects in the second addend, and putting them all together. Charmy solved his problems by counting all the objects in the entire question. Both strategies worked.
When they were done, and their answers were checked, Tiff said, "Now turn to pages 12 and 13."
The students flipped to the next page. Then Tiff continued, "Now comes the slightly harder part of this exercise. First of all, you notice that there's no objects but numbers, right?"
"Yeah," Charmy said.
"Well, these next math problems will help you make your brains get stronger. To make things a lot easier for you, here's what you can do -- just count the numbers in your head, and you'll know the answer by then."
This part of the quiz was indeed a little harder than the previous one, even for a beginner like Cream. She looked at the first number in each problem then counted onwards from that number before writing down her answer.
Charmy was having a hard time with these problems as well. He had to use his sheet of scratch paper to draw a number of circles then add to them by drawing more circles so he could solve the problems correctly.
When the two of them got to page 13, things got even harder still. On this page, there were math problems that required answers greater than 10.
As a matter of fact, Charmy had difficulty with these math problems. But he used his head to know what comes after ten. For example, when he was trying to solve "5 + 7", he counted seven times from five. Then he wrote the number 12 under the 7.
Later on the next day, Cream and Charmy learned another new math lesson -- subtraction. Amy explained, "Subtraction is a term for 'taking away'. Basically it's the opposite of addition."
Then Tiff added, "To subtract two numbers, you use the minus sign, which looks like this." She showed the youngsters a flash card with a horizontal dash on it.
"That's the sign all people use to subtract something from a bigger number." Amy pointed at the minus sign on the card.
"To get things started, let's use these candies for some basic subtraction," Tiff said as she took out seven pieces of candy. "How many do you see that I placed on the table?"
Cream counted the candies and answered, "Seven."
"Well done," Amy said. "Now watch what I'm going to do." She removed three candies off the table. Charmy didn't see this as he gazed at something else in the room. "In case you weren't paying attention, Charmy, I just took away three candies. How many are there now?"
Charmy counted how many candies there were left, and said, "Four."
"Okay, so you were paying attention after all. Anyways, remember this strategy: when you have seven candies, and you take away three, you have four left -- 7 minus 3 is 4. And that's the process of subtraction. Can you remember that?"
"I sure can," Cream said.
"Me too," Charmy added.
"Excellent! Now open your workbooks to pages 16 and 17. You will see your first subtraction problems on these pages."
As Cream and Charmy flipped to page 16, Tiff explained, "This time, you will subtract objects by crossing them off. You can draw an X or a slash on the number of objects you take away, and that's how you'll get the answer. Now that you know what to do, good luck, and we'll look at your answers when we're done."
Cream and Charmy started working. Cream crossed off the objects with a slash, while Charmy used an X to cross off the subtrahend of objects in every math problem. Both of them only counted the remaining number of objects that they didn't cross off.
On the next part of the exercise, they did subtraction problems with numbers only. Amy even gave them a strategy on how to solve them quickly -- by counting backwards, which is what Charmy and Cream both agreed on.
Each time they tried to solve a subtraction math problem, they always looked at the minuend first, then counted backwards from that number using the subtrahend. Charmy even drew some circles on his scratch paper to help him solve the problems accurately.
Finally, on Day 5, the last day of the week for learning math from Amy and Tiff, the final lesson was learning place value, with numbers up to 99.
"What's place value?" asked Cream.
"It's the value given to a digit by virtue of its location in a whole number," Tiff explained. "And since you're only first graders, we're only going to do two-digit numbers in this lesson. Either Amy or I will show you a flash card, and you will tell me if it's a 1- or a 2-digit number."
Amy took out a flash card with the number '6' on it. "Do you know what this is?" she asked.
"That's a six," Charmy said.
"Well, that may be, but we're actually asking how many digits this number is," Tiff told him. "Do you know, Cream?"
"I sure do," Cream said with confidence. "That's a 1-digit number."
"You're right," Amy replied. "6 is a one-digit number, because it is less than 10. Now Tiff will show you another number."
Tiff showed Charmy and Cream a card with the number 25 on it. "Can you tell what this is?" she asked.
"I know, I know!" Charmy said with excitement. "That's the number... uh, I forgot."
"But I know," Cream said, raising her hand. "That's a 2-digit number."
"That's right," said Tiff. "This is the number twenty-five. It has two digits because it is greater than 10. Every time you see a 2-digit number with a 2 or greater in the left side, known as the tens' digit, you say 20, 30, 40, etc. first, then the numbers 1 through 9, unless the number on the right side, known as the ones' digit, is a 0."
"So what are the tens' digit numbers we'll be using for the lesson?" asked Cream.
Amy showed the youngsters a number chart with eight 2-digit numbers, all of them with a 0 on the ones' digit. Next to each of them were words on how the numbers are pronounced.
"Memorize these numbers, then we'll do a place value quiz afterwards when you both are ready," she said.
Charmy and Cream studied the numbers carefully, which ranged from 20 to 90. They read the numbers over and over again, until they completely understood them.
Minutes later, they officially declared to their tutors that they have fully memorized the numbers. "Very good," said Amy. "Now, here's the quiz you two will be taking."
She handed the two students each a paper with numbers written in word format on one side and review questions on the other side. "What are we supposed to do with these questions?" Charmy asked.
"That's where I tell you," Tiff said. "On the first part of this quiz, write the numbers in numeral format next to the words you see. Then, on the second part, you will be reviewing what you learned in the past two days -- addition and subtraction. This is just to refresh your brains a little. Now when I say 'go', take your time and work fluently. Ready? Go!"
Cream and Charmy began scratching away on their quizzes. They silently read the words that represented numerals, and wrote the correct numbers in the spaces next to the words.
After that, they flipped their papers over and worked on the addition and subtraction problems, which were scrambled out of order. The hard part of this quiz was that they had to pay attention to the (+) and (-) signs that represented adding or subtracting.
They counted forwards or backwards every time before solving, and even used their scratch paper to show their work.
When they were done, they handed their test papers to Tiff and Amy, and the girls started checking their answers. When the checking was done, both Charmy and Cream got 100%!
"Excellent work indeed," said Tiff. "You both got a perfect score! You should be proud of yourselves."
"It was hard at first..." said Charmy, "...but now, we're becoming mathematicians," Cream added.
Just then Vanilla came over. Amy explained, "Cream and Charmy did very well. As far as Tiff and I are aware of, they sure know their numbers!"
"Thank you, girls. Here's another $20 for once again being the best tutors in the whole world," said the mother rabbit. Not only was she proud of Amy and Tiff for teaching math, but also proud of Charmy and Cream for learning their numbers.
"It's been a pleasure teaching numbers for the first time ever," said Tiff. "Maybe we'll plan on being teachers in a real public school someday."
Later, it was time for Tiff and Amy to go back home. "I hope you'll never get those numbers out of your heads," Amy said.
"We won't," Charmy replied. "We'll study them every day, even during our free time!"
"That's the spirit," Tiff said. Then she and Amy began to leave. "Bye, Cream! Bye, Charmy!" they called.
"Bye!" Cream and Charmy called back, then returned to the kitchen. Vanilla said to them, "You kids have been great students, that I bought you..."
She took out a glass plate full of cookies. "...a huge batch of chocolate-chip honey cookies!"
"YAY!" Charmy and Cream cheered. But before they were about to dig in, Vanilla slowed them down. "Now, now, settle down, darlings. I wouldn't eat them all in one day if I were you. I recommend to have one cookie at a time before you can have another."
Charmy and Cream listened to what their mother said, then chowed down on their reward cookies for being very good math students.