HANDS-ON EQUATIONS® CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF MAKING ALGEBRA CHILD’S PLAY®
In celebration of their 30th year of making algebra child’s play, Borenson and Associates is providing a 20% discount during the month of November for online purchases of their physical kits at www.borenson.com. CODE: borenson
In 1986, Dr. Henry Borenson revolutionized the teaching of algebra by developing a system that would enable children as young as 8 years of age to solve algebraic equations such as 4x + 3 = 3x + 10. After receiving a patent for Hands-On Equations, he started Borenson and Associates in order to disseminate the program and to provide teacher training.
Now, 30 years later, more than a million students in the United States have benefited from Hands-On Equations and more than 50,000 teachers have attended the Making Algebra Child's Play workshop which his company provides to school districts nationwide. The response to the program from both students and teacher's has been very positive, as noted by educational writer Julia Steiny in "Fifth graders having a blast with algebra".
What is the secret to the success of the program? “In a matter of minutes I can have any 8-year old solve algebraic equations that many 9th graders cannot solve, ” says Borenson. “The secret is the specific manner in which Hands-On Equations makes the concepts concrete and visual. It is whole brain learning at its best.”
The system uses a blue pawn to represent the unknown number “x”, numbered cubes to represent the constants, and an image of the balance scale on which to represent the equation. The student then uses “legal moves” to simplify the equation by removing an equal number of blue pawns from each side.
The video below shows Eric, age 8, explaining his solution to 4x + 5 = 2x + 13 on the Teacher’s Demonstration Balance Scale.
More recently, Borenson developed app versions of Hands-On Equations. There is a free version called The Fun Way to Learn Algebra, as well as paid versions: Hands-On Equations 1, 2 and 3 for IOS, Android, and Kindle devices. The apps have obtained an average rating of 4.75 and have received strong reviews. Here is a review by Smart Apps for Kids.
Although the app was intended for young kids, Borenson was pleasantly surprised that many of the five-star reviews came from adults who had not experienced prior success with algebra. For example, one user wrote, “This app taught me in 5 minutes what I could never understand in algebra.” Another wrote, “I’m terrified of mathematics and once I practiced with this, it really opened up a whole new world for me and made me feel so comfortable with algebra.”