Old Schoolhouse Product Review
Hands-On Equations Review by Debra Cogburn
Algebra! That one word can strike fear into any child’s heart, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Algebra can be taught to a child as young as third grade, or an older student or parent that needs a hands-on, easy-to-understand method. Let me introduce you to Algebra: Hands-On Equations developed by Henry Borenson.
Each student kit includes a visual that is laminated to be durable. It illustrates the two sides of an algebra equation and its equality by using an image of a balance scale. The student manipulates the equation by using colored pawns and colored number cubes. He/she is able to physically show the problem with the manipulatives and find the answer by making both sides of the balance scale equal. Problems begin with simple concepts and end with such problems as 3x-2(-x+4)=x+(-32). The instruction manual is clear and easy to use. Videotapes are available that teach each lesson and would be great for independent work for the student. After the student uses the manipulatives to solve the problem, he/she then completes a worksheet for extra practice.
With this method anyone, including myself, can be taught algebra without the frustration. For the first time in my life, I actually understood how to do algebra and why it works. You and your child do not have to fear algebra. With Algebra: Hands-On Equations, the solution to algebra is in your hands! I give it an A+!
— Product Review by: Debra Cogburn, Lead Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
A review of Hands-On Equations by Dr. Heather W. Allen
The Algebra: Hands-On Equations Learning System is a visual and kinesthetic teaching system for introducing algebraic concepts to students in third through eighth grades. Supposedly, the patented teaching system developed by Dr. Henry Borenson, enables children, as early as third grade, to access algebraic concepts normally presented in the seventh through ninth grades. My first thought was let’s round up the kids, put on the course Instructional VideoManual and see what happens.
That’s just what I did. I sat three children, ages five, nine and 11, in front of the television and fired it up. After an initial groan or two when it was discovered that they were about to watch something educational, the room became quiet. These children were glued to this video watching the demonstrator present problems and solutions.
My 11-year-old was in control of the remote so he stopped the video each time a new problem was given. He and his nine-year-old brother worked the problem independently, then compared answers, and then started the video rolling to see if their answer jived with the one presented. I was amazed. They loved the video, the manner of instruction, and solving these problems. We completed the first five of 26 lessons before taking a break. What fun. What an education in just a few short minutes.
When we turned the video off, my 81-year old mother said, “Is that all we get to see?” I had no idea she was also watching and working the problems. She held up her paper and announced that she hadn’t missed one yet. The only one who was totally unenthused about this product was my five-year-old, but then Dr. Borenson wasn’t gearing his system to five-year-olds. I considered our home test of this product a total success.
If you’re interested in teaching your children fundamental algebraic concepts, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Algebra: Hands-On Equations. Also, if you’re one of those people who is terrified of the thought of teaching algebra to your children, this is the product for you. Please consider Hands-On Equations when preparing to teach basic algebraic concepts.
— Product Review by: Dr. Heather W. Allen, Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine