Hands-On Equations 1 Lite — The Fun Way to Learn Algebra
Price: Free iOS: 4.3
Before reviewing Hands-On Equations 1 Lite, let’s take a look at what’s behind this free algebra app for children. Hands-On Equations is a supplementary program developed by Dr. Henry Borenson who teaches students in grades 3–9 to solve linear equations through a visual and kinesthetic approach. Using a balance scale, pawns and number cubes, students learn to reproduce abstract concepts in a visual form. This method had been proven to be of tremendous help to students struggling with algebra, as well as for children as young as 8 years of age to understand and solve equations normally taught in the 8th or 9th grade. Over 1 million students in the US have already benefited from the physical game and more than 50,000 teachers have attended the Making Algebra Child’s Play workshop for teachers.
Hands-On Equations algebra apps for iOS are divided into 3 chapters and they bring the same teaching method on your iPad. If you want to give it a try before you buy, Dr. Borenson makes this possible by offering the first 3 level 1 lessons for free through Hands-On Equations 1 Lite. Each lesson begins with a video tutorial in which Dr. Borenson explains the instructions, the method and the purpose of each exercise. The tutorial is followed by a short practice session that contains two exercises. Feel free to help the kids with this part and make sure that everything is understood before you let them have a go at the 10 exercises included for each lesson.
The user interface is simple and intuitive. In the middle of the screen there is the virtual balance scale with blue pawns and numeric cubes underneath it. In the upper part you have the equation that needs to be solved, and also a field used to insert the value for X, and two more to enter the value of the equation on each side of the equals sign. Place the pawns and the numeric cubes on the scale to build a visual representation for the given equation before you solve it. There’s also an auto-check button which will automatically check if the inputed value for X is the correct answer or not, and if it works in your visual model.
In Lesson 1 students are taught how to solve the equations only using guess and check. Starting with Lesson 2 children get to place the pieces on the balance scale to represent the two sides of the equations, while in Lesson 3 they get to learn how to simplify the equations by removing the same amount of X’s or the same number from the both sides of the equation.
Overall, Hands-On Equations 1 Lite is the perfect tool for introducing algebra to kids at an early age in a fun and entertaining way. It also helps students who have trouble understanding the abstract concepts of algebra. Having a visual model and pieces to touch and play with, gives children a new, easy, and more tangible method to understand simple linear equations.
We warmly recommend this app to parents and teachers who are involved in teaching basic algebra. Available for free download on iPad.
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