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Letter to Parent
The educator who is about to begin Hands-On Equations with his/her elementary school students may wish to send the letter below (or an adaptation of it) to the parents of the children in his/her class. Parents generally appreciate being informed of any innovative programs that will be used with their children. Additionally, the parents will have the website information where they can learn more about the program, see videos of children using the program, or attend a free webinar. Often, teachers provide the letter for the child to bring home to the parent.
I am pleased to inform you that our class is about to begin a unit on balancing equations! The children will be working with a program called Hands-On Equations® that will provide them with a sound introduction to basic algebraic concepts.
The instructional system uses game pieces consisting of pawns and numbered cubes, as well as a one-dimensional picture of a balance. This process will enable students to visualize equations in ways that make them very clear and understandable. It is a system designed to enhance student self-esteem and interest in mathematics. In just a few lessons students learn to solve equations such as 4x + 3 = 3x + 9 and 2(2x + 1) = x + 8.
The children will be very actively involved in their learning and will be having fun at the same time. The Hands-On Equations website, www.borenson.com, has videos and offers a complimentary introductory webinar if this should be of interest to you. I believe you will quickly gain an appreciation of how this program works.
As students use Hands-On Equations, they will also be reinforcing their basic arithmetic facts. After children master the basics of the program they are introduced to a new mathematical notation, whose name is “star” and which is written as an x with a bar through it. Star is simply another name for the opposite of x, so that x plus star is equal to zero.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. If you would like to see a short demonstration of this learning system please let me know. Both the children and I are excited about the possibility of showing you how their algebra skills are growing by leaps and bounds.