Algebra Phobias Vanish with the New Hands-On Equations App for iPad
Even 8-year old students can learn to solve equations such as 4x+3=3x+9 with this app. This visual and tactile approach demystifies abstract algebraic concepts and enhances student self-esteem.
April 9, 2012 Educators say algebra phobias vanish with the new iPad app from Borenson and Associates at www.borenson.com. This app, which can be used by students as young as eight years old, literally makes algebra child's play. The original, physical Hands-On Equations® program has already helped more than a million students and adults.
"Kids don't have to wait until the eighth grade to begin learning algebra with this new app," said a jubilant Dr. Henry Borenson, creator of Hands-On Equations. "In six lessons even eight-year-olds can learn to solve algebraic equations normally presented in the eighth or ninth grade," noted Borenson.
"As soon as I used the new Hands-On Equations app, I knew that every student would benefit, especially those who are more visual or tactile," said Pat Wyman, author and founder of HowToLearn.Com. "This app takes into account the different learning styles that students have," she added.
In its non-digital form Hands-On Equations uses actual game pieces: pawns, numbered cubes, and a graphic representation of a balance scale. These elements have been transferred into digital form to the app. Younger and older students alike can understand and successfully solve the equations in the app by moving the game pieces with their fingers or with a stylus on the digital screen--and have fun doing it.
Borenson's mission is to ensure that every child succeeds in algebra and learns to love it.
"I created Hands-On Equations because I know that algebra is the language of mathematics, and helping kids solve basic algebraic equations will make it easier for them to pursue higher level math and science classes," said Borenson.
A research study conducted in 2008 with 195 fourth- and fifth-graders in the Broward County, Florida, public schools revealed that while only nine percent of the students could solve an algebra equation such as 4x + 3 = 3x + 9 on the pretest, 80 percent of them solved it correctly on the post-test following six lessons of Hands-On Equations instruction using the actual game pieces.
"It is the carefully thought-out sequence of lessons, along with the use of the game pieces, that enables students to gain a deep understanding of the underlying concepts," said Borenson. "Purely abstract or symbolic instruction is not helpful for many students," he added.
According to a 2008 report by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, many students in middle and high school algebra classes do not understand procedures for transforming equations or why those transformations work.
"Hands-On Equations has been the sole reason our students understand algebra and, as a result, they are no longer afraid of it," said Cheri Godek, principal of Gotha Middle School in Windermere, Florida. "Students have actually been reduced to tears of joy when they felt that pride in math they had never felt before," continued Godek.
Many districts are expecting digital technology to make a big difference in student learning. For example, the McAllen Independent School District in Texas recently announced a plan to purchase 25,000 iPads, enough for all of its K-12 students. "It's about transforming learning; it's really not about the device," said Carmen Garcia, director of instructional technology for the district.
The Hands-On Equations app provides another means for districts to provide this powerful algebra teaching method to their students in grades three through nine.
In a review of this app, Michael Vallez, a professional app reviewer wrote, "Everything about this application is great and is presented in a very simple, straightforward and helpful way. Not only is Hands-On Equations engaging, but it's a fun way to learn a very intimidating subject. I think Dr. Henry Borenson (inventor) is brilliant -- and so is this application."
More information on Hands-On Equations can be found at www.borenson.com. In addition to the app, the company offers physical sets of Hands-On Equations for use at home and in school, as well as the Making Algebra Child's Play workshop for teachers. The app can be downloaded from the App Store. For a video demo of this app from Borenson.com visit http://goo.gl/czaic.
Borenson and Associates, Inc.