Math ‘too complex;’ Zhou, 17, has solution

Nathan Zhou, 17, of Farragut is bringing an innovative venture to Town as he launches his first business, Totus Math, a home-based supplemental program offering both in-person and virtual instruction.

He will be teaching a curriculum he designed himself to help students get the foundations they need.

“Math has always come easily to me,” said Zhou, a rising senior at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

However, “I have seen firsthand how many students struggle with math,” he added. “Most of the students I tutor are smart and have a lot of potential, but starting from an early age, they were not taught well.

“So last summer I started working on a solution, Totus Math.”

Critical of the standard math curriculum for children, “Elementary schools are teaching basic arithmetic in a way too complex for the students to fully understand,” he said. “… Totus Math is trying to make the basic math concepts clear and simple.

“Our goal is for students to truly experience the beauty of math and master the basic skills, which can help foster their interest and confidence,” he added.

Zhou and his family moved from Utah to Tennessee in September. While in middle school, he was one of four students representing his home state of Utah at the National Mathcounts competition. Since then, he has participated in math competitions such as the HMMT, AIME and AMC.

Zhou also ran the Math Club at his previous high school, as well as coach the middle school math competition team at Rowland Hall for Mathcounts.

“The team I coached won second in the state in 2019,” he said.

Outside of school, Zhou has worked online and in-person as a tutor and an assistant manager at a learning center for the past three years.

“I have helped curate individualized curriculums for a wide range of students and realized how crucial it is for a curriculum to help young students build solid foundations,” he said.

Recently, Zhou was selected as a TEDx speaker and presented a talk on “America’s math education crisis.”

“In my talk, I compared students struggling with math with my own personal journey in sports, and explained how important it is to master the fundamental skills,” he added.

Zhou is sharing his aptitude with students in Farragut and surrounding areas through Totus Math.

“Totus Math will empower students to succeed and not get left behind in a STEM-rich future,” he said. “Math is the foundation of the future, and every student deserves a chance at mastering it.

“We are trying to grow in the Farragut community.”

Currently, “I am seeking to help the (elementary school) children in our community,” Zhou said. “Totus Math will be open for in-person students starting July 15 and we will offer a free assessment.”

For more information about Totus Math or to schedule a class, call 865-272-9209, e-mail to or visit