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.