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The History of
Products Designed by a Mathematician!
Conceptual Math Media was founded by Mary Kay Beavers, a mathematics instructor at City College of San Francisco, who earned her Master's Degree in mathematics at the University of Illinois, and her Bachelor's Degree in mathematics from the University of Arkansas. Prior to teaching at City College, Mary Kay taught math at various levels in Texas, Illinois, Missouri and California. Her dedication to the under-prepared college student led her to write a basic math book for adults, Essential Mathematics, published by Addison Wesley Longman.
With encouragement and support from her brother Charles, she was determined to make a contribution that would go beyond the college classroom and give parents a tool to help them teach their children important math concepts and skills. By designing Equate, Mary Kay not only brings math into families in a fun way, but also benefits learning in the classroom at various levels.
How Did It All Start?
The seed of Conceptual Math Media, Inc. was planted in Summer 1993. Her brother, Charles Beavers, had been pleading with her for 10 years to develop something that would help parents teach their children important math concepts that were not being taught in schools. Therefore, she began thinking about creating innovative math educational products that would benefit both parents and teachers products that would be useful for a wide range of ages and would actually change negative attitudes about mathematics. The company's mission is to make a major contribution to the nation's problems with math education.
It was not until two years later, in Summer 1995, that Mary Kay conceived of the idea of developing a crossword-style math board game. She felt that this idea was unique enough to launch her newly formed company. With no previous business experience she began designing Equate with only the support and encouragement from her brother, an architect. Funding came from an equity line of credit against her home in San Francisco. Writing those first big checks was very scary. Equate hit the market in November 1996 only 16 months after realizing the idea.
After the first printing of Equate arrived on the boat from Hong Kong, the real work began. Mary Kay had to learn how to distribute the games. She found eager buyers at math teacher conventions, and now most major educational catalogs are selling Equate. After Equate won three awards from both the educational and entertainment arenas, and the company collected enough revenue to advertise in selected trade magazines, finding retail stores to carry Equate became slightly easier. Eye-catching award stickers inform the consumer about the awards. Equate customers are extremely happy with their game and word-of-mouth is our best marketing tool at this time. We have now had multiple printings of Equate.
Starting a new company while teaching full-time at City College has not been an easy task. With the help of three part-time employees, Mary Kay has managed to develop the company's other major products, PrimePak, released in the summer 2000, and Conceptual Bingo, released in 2004.
To support the growth of Conceptual Math Media, Mary Kay has retired City College. She feels that creating innovative products for parents and teachers will make a broader contribution to education than teaching her classes.
For questions or comments, please send e-mail to
or call (888)
433-2224 or (916) 435-2810.
Equate and PrimePak are registered trademarks of Conceptual Math Media,
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