Frequently Asked Questions

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General FAQ Hands-On Equations

Does a student need to be able to multiply or divide to use this program?

The ability to multiply and divide is not necessary for success in using this program, although these skills would be helpful if the student possessed them.

What grade level is this program appropriate for?

The program can be used with gifted 3rd graders and average students beginning in the 4th grade. It is valuable for any student prior to taking a formal Algebra 1 course.

Does the student or parent need to know any algebra before using this program?

No, the program does not assume any previous work with algebra.

What prerequisites are needed for a student to use this program?

It would be helpful if the student can perform basic computations, such as counting by 7’s and adding 9 and 8 mentally.  Even if the student cannot do so, however the student can benefit from the program; it would just take longer to do each example and to conduct the check. For many students the desire to succeed in the program serves to motivate them to want to learn the basic facts.

How long does it take for delivery of materials?

Delivery to the east coast of the United States can normally be expected in 2 to 3 business days. Delivery to the west coast normally takes 7 to 10 days. Special two or three day delivery is available at additional cost. Please send your inquiry to

How much are shipping charges?

Standard shipping and handling to the continental USA is 3%, with a $7.95 minimum charge. If you are ordering from outside the United States, please send an email to indicating the items you would like to order. Provide us with your mailing address so that we can provide the correct shipping charge for your order.

Do you accept purchase orders?

Yes. These can faxed to 610-398-7863

Where can I enter the tax exempt number for my institution?

Immediately after logging in you will see a Manage Profile link. Click that link, set Tax Exempt status to "Yes" and enter tax i.d. number in the box, and click Update at the bottom of the page.



Support FAQ

Can I preview the material?

All of our products come with a 30-day money back guarantee to return the product if you are not completely satisfied. Hence, you may order an individual or class set, try it out, and if you are not satisfied that it achieves for you the claims that we make for the product, return it with a short explanation and we will refund the purchase price, less the shipping and handling charge. If you have any special need, please send your inquiry to

How do I get a replacement part for the demo scale?

Send a digital image of the broken portion to with the address to which you would like the replacement part sent, or call 800-993-6284 FREE if you need any assistance.

Can I purchase an extra teacher demonstration scale? What is the cost?

The current price of the Teachers’ Demonstration Scale and Game Pieces is $76. Please note: This scale has no moving parts! It is only used to illustrate the equations to the class. It is not needed if you are working with one student only, unless the student cannot grasp the idea of the scale from the flat photo shown on the laminated scale.

Do you have any pre- and post-tests available?

Yes, we have pre and post-tests available for all three levels of Hands-On Equations. Please visit the Research section of our website.

Do you have additional verbal problems besides those that come with the individual set?

Yes, we have the Hands-On Equations Introductory Verbal Problems Workbook which has some 80 verbal problems which can be solved using Level 1 of Hands-On Equations. For the middle school we have the Hands-On Equations Verbal Problems Book which has more than 300 verbal problems covering all three levels of Hands-On Equations. Some of these problems will challenge your most advanced students.



Product FAQ

What comes in a classroom set?

The classroom set for thirty students, for example, consists of the Teacher’s Demonstration Scale and Game Pieces, the Hands-On Equations Learning System (S-1000), which has the teacher manuals for all three levels, the set of worksheets with reproduction rights and the answer key. It also includes thirty sets of student kits (game pieces and flat laminated balance).

Are the Additional Classwork Sheets the same as those that come with the class set?

No, these are a new set of worksheets, one worksheet for each lesson, each one containing ten new equations.

What comes in an individual set?

The Individual Set or S-1000 is the full program for use with one student at a time. It includes the teachers’ instructional manuals for all three levels, the set of class work sheets (without reproduction right), the answer key, and one set of student game pieces. Note: The Teachers’ Demonstration Scale and Game Pieces are not included in the individual set.




How important is it for a teacher to attend a workshop before using the program?

If the teacher has an opportunity to attend a full-day Making Algebra Child's Play workshop prior to implementing Hands-On Equations, the teacher will find the training highly beneficial. The teacher will know exactly how to introduce the program and will have a solid grasp of the key ideas of the program. Many teachers, however, begin to use the program just from reading the manuals or seeing the Instructional DVD. At the minimum, teachers are highly encouraged to attend our free introductory webinar.

Do you conduct workshops for individual schools or districts?

Yes, we conduct on-site staff development workshop for schools and districts. Since 1990, we have conducted more than 2500 staff development workshops, receiving very high ratings from the participants.  You can schedule your workshop by calling 1-800-993-6284 FREE or sending your inquiry to

What happens at a Making Algebra Child’s Play workshop?

The participants are provided with hands-on experience and are taken through the program step-by-step. Coaching methods of instruction are used to assure that each participant is immersed in the learning experience. Participants have an opportunity to present solutions at their seats or at the front of the room. They leave the workshop confident about being able to implement the program with their students. As a bonus, participants take with them valuable instructional strategies.

What happens at a Hands-On Equations Demystifying Verbal Problems Workshop?

The instructor provides a quick review of key lessons of Hands-On Equations, and then shares with the participants methods that student can use to go from the written word problem to the concrete and pictorial representation. This full-day workshop is intended for teachers of grades 5 - 8. Participants who have attended the Making Algebra Child's Play workshop, or who are already using Hands-On Equations in their classrooms, will obtain the maximum benefit from this training. A variety of verbal problems are considered such as consecutive integer, age and distance problems.

If the teacher has been teaching Hands-On Equations for several years, but has never attended the workshop, will the workshop be of any benefit?

A teacher that has used the program for several years will pick up very subtle distinctions in language and methods of instruction that will help her/him to be even more effective in presenting the program to his/her students.



Homeschoolers FAQ

Do I need the DVD to use the program with my child at home?

The DVD is not essential but it is helpful. The manuals of the program are fully illustrated and even young children have learned the entire program from the manuals alone. However, the visual illustration of each example does have value, especially when a child sees another child demonstration the solution on the video.

If I cannot afford the DVD what are my options?

You can obtain the the Hands-On Equations Learning System (S-1000: $34.95). It comes with the instructional manuals fully illustrated. If you have more than one child who will be using the program at the same time, we recommend an additional student kit (K-1000: $6.50).



Teaching FAQ

Should a teacher teach Hands-On Equations on consecutive days? Once a week? What is the optimum?

Many teachers use the program once a week. This has the advantage of providing spaced reinforcement of the concepts. Other teachers use the program a lesson a day until they finish a unit, especially if they need to provide the class set to another teacher to share.

How long is a typical lesson?

This varies depending on the lesson and the students. You can expect that a lesson might take 30 -50 minutes. The introductory component by the teacher might take 10-20 minutes; the time to complete the workshop might take 10 to 30 minutes.

I am teaching students who are taking algebra in high school. Will the Hands-On Equations program be of any value to me?

If your students have trouble solving simple equations such as 4x + 3 = 3x + 9 or 2(2x + 1) = 3x + 10, then this program will be of value to you. You will be able to experience success teaching the major principles involved in solving these equations.

What happens when students no longer use the game pieces? How do they transfer their learning?

The program itself introduces the student to a pictorial notation using only paper and pencil. Our pre- and post-test results show that students do as well using the pictorial notation as they do with the game pieces. The manuals also show how to transition to the traditional written notation.