Math can be tricky for students. Algebraic equations such as 4x + 2 = 3x + 9 look intimidating, and many students anxiously struggle to solve "tough" problems like this one. Now a new, free iPad app can help students overcome math anxiety and gain success and self-confidence. The Fun Way to Learn Algebra - FREE - Hands-On Equations 1 Lite offers students as young as eight years old a visual, kinesthetic approach to solving advanced algebraic equations.
The free app is based on Dr. Henry Borenson's highly successful Hands-On Equations program, which has been proven effective in schools around the world since it was introduced in 1986. More than a million U.S. students started learning algebra using this program in their classrooms. Complete versions of Hands-On Equations, levels 1 through 3, also are available as low-cost iPad apps.
According to a report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, many students even in middle school and high school "do not understand procedures for transforming equations or why transformations are done the way they are." This new app demystifies abstract algebraic equations by letting students see problems concretely and solve equations by manipulating onscreen elements using the iPad touchscreen.
"This concept has changed our daughter's outlook on math," said one parent who introduced her third-grader to the Hands-On Equations app. "Thanks to Hands-On Equations she no longer sees math as a drag. She now wants to show us all how the problems are solved!"
Like the classroom version, the app uses visual and kinesthetic learning strategies. In the equations the unknown x is represented by a pawn and the constants by numbered cubes. Using these game pieces, the student sets up each abstract equation on the image of a balance scale and then solves for x by moving the game pieces to simplify the equation.
Taking advantage of the iPad's graphics and touchscreen, the digital version presents the student of Hands-On Equations with a fun, visually appealing, manipulative learning experience. "It is really an elegant app," said one user. With the new, free app every student with an iPad can quickly learn to solve algebraic equations that usually are introduced in the eighth or ninth grade - and have fun doing it.
"Success with sophisticated-looking algebraic equations enhances the student's self esteem," said Dr. Henry Borenson, an award-winning educator and the inventor of Hands-On Equations. "Students realize, sometimes for the very first time, that they can be really good at math!"
Teacher Kelly Voorhies of Nashville, Tennessee, shared a similar perception as a result of teaching Hands-On Equations to her fifth-grade students, "They just loved it! Hands-On Equations empowers students with the confidence to be math superstars."
Hands-On Equations allows students to learn math that their counterparts in top-achieving countries on international math assessments do not learn until years later. The Common Core Math Standards, which is widely influencing K-6 math education in the United States, seeks to be guided by the composite standards of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea, where students score highest on international tests.
"Why play catch-up when we can lead?" asked Borenson. "Third- and fourth-grade students in the United States can be ahead of their fellow students in these other countries," he added. "Those students do not see these kinds of algebraic equations before the fifth or sixth grade. Let U.S. students take the math lead for a change!"
Features of the free Hands-On Equations 1 Lite app for the iPad include:
- An instructional video that introduces the concepts and strategies for the lesson
- Touchscreen features that enable students to move the digital game pieces
- A "check" feature enabling self-check of solution
- Immediate feedback for right and wrong answers
- Optional "auto-check" for students who have difficulty with arithmetic
- Free preview of the paid Hands-On Equations 1app
Hands-On Equations 1 Lite for students age eight to adult is available as a free download from the App Store. To learn more about all the versions of Hands-On Equations, visit the developer's website.
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The Fun Way to Learn Algebra - FREE - Hands-On Equations 1 Lite 1.0 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category.