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Hands-On Equations® Celebrates 30 Years

Allentown, PA, USA. November 16, 2016
Press Contacts

For more information on Hands-On Equations or Borenson and Associates, Inc. write to or call 800-993-6284.

In 1986, Dr. Henry Borenson revolutionized the teaching of algebra by developing a system to enable even 8-year old students to solve algebraic linear equations such as 4x + 3 = 3x + 10 and 2(2x + 1) + x = 2x + 14.

Dr. Henry Borenson, inventor of Hands-On Equations

After receiving a patent for Hands-On Equations, Borenson started his own company 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.

Students and teachers love the program

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“. The program has also been enthusiastically received by homeschooling families.

What is the secret to the success of the program? “The secret to the program lies in the specific manner in which Hands-On Equations makes the concepts concrete and visual,” says Borenson. “Students understand what they are doing as they are solving the equations, they experience a high level of success, and their confidence in themselves and in their math ability skyrockets.”

How the system works
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 and algebraic linear equation on the Teacher’s Demonstration Balance Scale.

Hands-On Equations apps

In addition to the original physical kit, the program is also available as an app. 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

Adults using the app
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, “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.

Fractions program
More recently, Dr. Borenson has applied his knowledge of how students to learn to the teaching of fractions. His company now provides the Developing Fractions Sense® student workbooks for grades 3 and 4, along with staff development.

20% Discount in November

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 CODE: borenson

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