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Hands-On Equations®

Powerful Whole Brain Learning

Frequently Asked Questions: Hands-On Equations

General  |   Support  |   Products  |   Workshops  |   Homeschoolers  |   Teaching 


General FAQ 

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 an additional cost. Please send your inquiry to

How much are shipping charges?

Standard shipping and handling to the continental USA is 6%, with a $12.95 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 shipping address so that we can provide the correct shipping charge for your order.

Do you accept purchase orders?

Yes. These can be faxed to 610-398-7863, or emailed to You may also call us at 800-993-6284.



Support FAQ Hands-On Equations

Can I preview the material?

All of our products come with a 30-day money back guarantee. 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 physical address to which you would like the complimentary replacement part sent, or call 800-993-6284 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.  



Product FAQ Hands-On Equations

What comes in a classroom set?

The classroom set for thirty students 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 rights), 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.

What comes in the Deluxe Home Set?

The Deluxe Home Set includes The Hands-On Equations Learning System, the Hands-On Equations Introductory Verbal Problems Workbook, and the DVD Instructional Manual. 

What is the difference between the two verbal problems books?

For students in grades 3 – 6 we have The Hands-On Equations Introductory Verbal Problems Workbook. It contains 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 350 verbal problems covering all three levels of Hands-On Equations. Some of these problems will challenge your most advanced students!

Do you recommend doing Hands-On Equations before doing Hands-On Equations FRACTIONS?

Yes, we recommend students complete Level I of Hands-On Equations before moving on to Level I of Hands-On Equations Fractions. By working with Hands-On Equations first, they will gain a basic understanding of the meaning of an algebraic linear equation and the concept of a legal move. Although this prior experience is helpful, it is not essential.

Do you recommend working on the Developing Fractions Sense programs before moving on to Hands-On Equations Fractions?

Students who have worked with the Developing Fractions Sense program, at any of the grade levels, will already have had experience in recognizing the different size fraction blocks and in working with equivalent fractions. This experience will come in handy as they work with HOE Fractions. However, this prior experience with DFS, although helpful, is not essential for success with HOE Fractions.



Workshops FAQ Hands-On Equations

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 webinars, or view a webinar recording.

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 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. 

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 demonstrating the solution on the video.

I would like to use the program with more than one child at home. What do I do?

You may purchase additional student kits (K-1000), at $5.00 each. The worksheets may be reproduced for use with other members of your family.



Teaching FAQ Hands-On Equations

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 worksheet 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.

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