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Teacher Shows Students that Math is Everywhere

A daily reminder hangs on the cupboard in Joshua Treu’s classroom for Buffalo United Charter School students to contemplate – have you used math today?

Treu, a sixth-grade math teacher, has students consider the question every day. Along with that query are real-world examples, such as using angles for parking, using decimals and estimates to make purchases, and using addition or subtraction when hitting the snooze button. By pointing out the math embedded in everyday tasks and professions, Treu gives students the answer to another often asked question – why is this important to learn?

Joshua Treu, math teacher at Buffalo United Charter School

“I think that opened their eyes to a lot of things,” Treu said. “These are things that I need to pay attention to because I’m going to need it. All of that is easily connected to all types of math.”

It’s no coincidence that Treu has forged a connection with students at Buffalo United in a relatively short period of time, having arrived at the school in November 2022. Forming a bond with and inspiring students is what got him into teaching.

Treu teaching math at Buffalo United Charter School

As an undeclared major at the University at Buffalo, he entered the Intro to Education program with some encouragement from family. Having to shadow another teacher brought him back to the classroom of his own fourth grade teacher, whose ability to engage with students no matter the subject impacted him as an adolescent and became even more meaningful in his search for a career path.

Just like that, his mind was made up; he transferred to Buffalo State the next semester to study child education.

Treu teaching math at Buffalo United Charter School

“We always have that one teacher that sticks out in our memory. He’s definitely it for me,” Treu said. “Seeing it both as a student and then coming back to shadow as an adult was a very cool experience to see it through a whole new lens.”

Treu worked as a special education teacher in Virginia and Buffalo Public Schools for his first five years as a teacher. When he saw an opening for a math teacher at Buffalo United, he jumped at the chance to have a full-circle moment in a subject that he once had experienced struggles of his own.

Treu teaching math at Buffalo United Charter School

Treu has gone to great lengths to show students how important math is in the professional world, in part due to his own long locks. After a student offered to braid his hair, he learned that they wanted to one day become a hair stylist. His fiancĂ© happens to be in that precise occupation, so Treu arranged for the student to shadow her at the salon to get an in-person look all the math involved in the job – how to cut hair at angles and mix colors using decimals or fractions.

“That’s a moment that I appreciate and will look back fondly on, that I can make that connection with a student and help her in that path,” he said.

Keep up the excellent work, Mr. Treu!

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About Buffalo United Charter School
Buffalo United Charter School is a tuition-free, public charter school in Buffalo, New York, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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