The Hands-On Equations Learning System

(24 customer reviews)
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Complete program for use with one student. Includes manuals for Levels I, II, and III, worksheets, answer key, and one student kit of game pieces with flat laminated balance. ISBN 0-9618105-0-5

Additional student kits available for $5.00 each (see Item #K-1000 below).

“This system is just plain awesome, and it’s pretty useful for parents, too, who now have a way of showing, rather than explaining, Algebra!” – from a teacher and parent.

SKU: S-1000-T Category:


Hands-On Equations
Making Algebra Child's Play!

The Hands-On Equations Learning System consists of three levels.  At each level, students use the game pieces to physically “set up” the given equation on the laminated balance scale. They then use “legal moves” to physically solve the equation. Students also learn to solve the equations using a pictorial solution.

Hands-On Equations is an innovative teaching methodology that was awarded a U.S. patent. It is a program that:

  • Simplifies the teaching of algebraic concepts
  • Makes algebraic concepts accessible to students in grades 3 – 8
  • Uses the game pieces to physically represent and solve algebraic linear equations
  • Enables students to enjoy their learning experience
  • Promotes greater interest in mathematics
  • Enhances student self-esteem
  • Enables students to physically represent and solve word problems
  • Provides students with a solid foundation for later algebraic learning
  • Does not require any algebraic prerequisites

Level 1: Lessons 1-7 Red Booklet

Students use the red cubes and blue pawns to set up and solve equations such as:
4x + 3 = 3x + 9 and 2(2x + 1) = 3x + 10.

Level 2: Lessons 8-16 Blue Booklet

Students use the red cubes, blue pawns, and white pawns to set up and solve equations such as:
2x = star + 6 and 2x – star + 2 = x + 10.

Note: Star, written as xis a new mathematical notation developed by Dr. Borenson for the opposite of x. It is a more compact symbol than the traditional notation, (-x). See note following the video below.

Once students have learned the algebraic concepts using the star notation and the white pawn, they are then ready to transfer their learning and make sense of examples such as 2x + (-x) + 3 = 2(-x) + 12 and 2x – (-x) = 15.

Level 3: Lessons 17-26 Green Booklet

Students use the red cubes, blue pawns, white pawns, and green cubes to set up and solve equations such as:
2x + 3 = – 6 + x and x – 2(x + 2) = 5.

24 reviews for The Hands-On Equations Learning System

  1. Preparing students for 5th grade

    maria Marrero (Verified Purchase)

    Excellent to close the school year with some 5th grade algebraic strategies. My students love the game and turn it into real operations.

  2. Must Have

    Regina Walther (Verified Purchase)

    Truly does make algebra child’s play. Designed to start at 3rd or 4th grade, but I use this with jr hi who are struggling to grasp algebraic concepts.

  3. Excellent introduction to pre-algebra

    kiora23 (Verified Purchase)

    I first ran across this instructional material as a 4th grade classroom teacher, and really loved using it with my students. Solid pre-algebra materials for the elementary crows are less common, and I was excited to see it sold individually to use at home with my own child. It is a wonderful way to move from concrete manipulation of pieces (they look like large chess pieces) and drawings that represent values and variables, into pre-algebra that uses the standard notation. It glides along very nicely into more levels of difficulty. This set is a great value. I would use the 3 books across 4th, 5th, and 6th grade (they step up in complexity). However, you can start earlier and move at your chosen pace. Everything you need included, including “teacher” demo guide. The demo guide is scripted, and makes each lesson very clear, stepped and self-explanatory. The materials store nicely, without taking much state in the ziplock bag provided. Great program!

  4. Great teaching tool

    Megan (Verified Purchase)

    Wonderful for teaching the basics of algebra to young children and kinestetic learners

  5. Teaching Algebra

    Teacher (Verified Purchase)

    This is the best set of algebra manipulatives that I’ve found!

  6. It works! Have used it before!

    Rowena V. West (Verified Purchase)

    This product is outstanding for teaching students Algebra. It take them from concrete to representational and finally, abstract. The formula for total success!

  7. Effective!

    Reader (Verified Purchase)

    My 10 year old is really enjoying learning algebra. He says it’s actually kind of fun.

  8. a "MUST-HAVE" product for your classroom!

    Staci J. McDaniel (Verified Purchase)

    I’m a math educator and am completely in love with Hands-On Equations!! Last year, I used it for 5th grade enrichment. It’s such an amazing product that I even worked with a 1st grader last year to do problems such as: 3(x+2)+x=x+9!!! When algebra is taught at the conceptual level, it’s amazing how simple it is!! This product is a MUST-HAVE for middle schools!!! They have multiple class size kits sizes and even a digital version! Best product ever!

  9. This kit changes lives... No, seriously

    Brit (Verified Purchase)

    Hands-On equations is the best tool there is for introducing algebra. I used it roughly 20 years ago in school and now I’m finishing my PhD in a STEM field at a top university. I’m also dyslexic, so algebra might have been much less accesible to me if it weren’t for this product. I’ve talked to other successful STEM students with and without learning disabilities who also remember Hands-On Equations sparking their initial interest in math. This might be a bit gushy for an Amazon review, but this product seriously changes lives.

  10. Math is fun

    Laura Mason (Verified Purchase)

    Great for learning about equations

  11. Greatest Math Kit Ever

    jbatti (Verified Purchase)

    THis is the most effective way of teaching beginning algebra ever. It is so clear and being hands on it really helps the students remember what to do. Superb product. I’ve been teaching for 40 years and this is the best kit I’ve ever seen.

  12. The Best Way To Teach Algebra

    TnByBirth (Verified Purchase)

    This hands on equations program is the best way to teach the concepts of algebra to young children or to those that are struggling with algebra in high school. It is a wonderful concrete way for children to “see” and understand what they are doing to solve equations. I wish I had been taught this way in high school, instead of trying to memorize what the teacher said, and had no idea what I was doing.

  13. No better way to convey Algebraic concepts!!!

    Bellarina (Verified Purchase)

    I purchased these sets for 2 homeschooling families as I saw 1st hand, as a teacher, it’s effectiveness with young and older learners in the classroom! You can get nothing better to teach Algebra concepts “hands on”.

  14. Excellent for Algebra

    Picqued (Verified Purchase)

    These are the best for making beginning algebra Hands On!

  15. Five Stars

    Sativa Gabbey (Verified Purchase)

    This is a great product for visual learning children

  16. My very favorite math system for this grade!

    She Storms (Verified Purchase)

    This is by far my most favorite math curriculum for pre-algebra. My own teachers oh so many years ago had gone to a class in order to teach this method, they had the hands on system and I loved it so much. When I had my own children and found myself homeschooling I knew I had to find this system for them. I am so glad I did. It truly helped my daughter understand the basic concepts. I think the price is good for all the books and pieces. (I ordered on their website) and I also recommend the app they have for it, though I think being hands on at first is best!

  17. Fun with beginning algebra concepts.

    Jane Maupin (Verified Purchase)

    I ordered and used in Gifted program years ago. Now am using in a one on one with my grandson (9years old). Wish I could afford a few more sets to use in school when I volunteer.

  18. Five Stars

    Casey (Verified Purchase)

    Perfect for enrichment elementary students or for students that are having difficulty with pre algebra.

  19. Five Stars

    Elizabeth S. Schairer (Verified Purchase)

    Outstanding! It focuses on concepts and understanding them rather than memorizing steps.

  20. Five Stars

    beth (Verified Purchase)

    Fantastic product for students in need of multisensory instruction.

  21. Great manipulative for teaching abstract conceptS.

    Amy (Verified Purchase)

    This is a great method for teaching algebra to younger kids. My 9, 12, and 13 year old are really grasping the algebraic concepts and I cannot be more thrilled! When it’s time to pull out the “scale” and blocks they light up. It’s nice to see them looking forward to math lessons for a change. I highly recommend Hands On Equations for teaching how to solve linear equations.

  22. Fun way to introduce young kids to Algebra

    Gardener (Verified Purchase)

    My eight year old loves this program. He likes it so much that he doesn’t even notice that he is working with addition while he solves the algebraic equations.

  23. Great Manipulative

    Chicken (Verified Purchase)

    I used this product when I was home tutoring a student in basic math. It was a great product that showed visually an abstract concept. Great purchase. One thing I didn’t realize until after I purchased it was that the student booklet with practice pages can’t be photocopied without buying an entire classroom set of the pieces. (It can be copied for home use -ed)

  24. Math Made Fun

    Karen A. Krall (Verified Purchase)

    I highly reccommend this product. I homeschool my boys. We use Saxon Math, but they get bored of doing it all the time. I also have many other math manipulatives that we supplement Saxon with. This one is my boys’ favorite!! They love it! They are only 9 years old, and the equations they are able to easily solve using the methods in this program are amazing. It gives kids a great beginning foundation for the algebra they will be introduced to later in school.

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