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Hands on Equations users

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I've looked at this SO many times....but I never bought it due to price. My oldest will be in 6th grade next year and using MM 6. Would this be a good time to use it? Or is it geared for younger kids? It seems like a lot of people on these boards used it with younger kids (3-5th graders) so I don't want to spend the money if it covers really basic stuff.

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It's not too late to benefit from HOE! The first level is basic equations, and very accessible to kids in 3-5th grade. Level 2 introduces negative variables, and Level 3 introduces negative integers, to the equations. So once your child has a grasp of negative integers, that is a great time to start using Levels 2 & 3.


My dd is halfway through MM5, and has done HOE Level 1 and the Introductory verbal problem book. When we get to the Integers chapter in MM5 in a month or two, I will have her do the Level 2 & 3 lessons. I have also just ordered the big Verbal Problems book, and will have her work through that this summer and next year. She may skip over the beginning lessons in that big book, or she may do them because they are fun for her. It's definitely a fun supplement for us.


Others who have used more of the program might have different insight, but my take is that it is a great addition to any pre-algebra program. It really gets kids understanding manipulating variables and integers and using equations comfortably. Lots of really interesting word problems, too.

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DD is working on MM6/AOPS Pre-A and she loves HOE. Just because there are manipulatives does not mean it's not appropriate for a 6th grader or that it's not substantive. I think almost all kids understand that one side has to equal the other side. It's a simple concept, but it may not be when you are working with numbers and variables and eventually word problems. HOE has complicated verbal problems, but its approach takes away the fear factor (or was that just me as a kid?). I've told DD a few times that I sure wish I had this in parochial school.


If you have an iPad, you could try level 1 app.

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In case it is of help, below is a "replay" of my thoughts on HoE from this past thread: Hands On Equations. I also like previous poster's idea of buying the APP cheap to test it out. Here is a past thread on the APP. And here is another past thread with other reviews of the regular program. One other thing to keep in mind when deciding: how much of a kinesthetic or tactile learner is the student? Some really NEED the manipulatives to see/"get" the concept concretely. BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.





"About 8-9 years ago, I bought this version (NO DVD lessons/demos) of the program for about $30. It included: 2 colors of pawns, dice, a picture of a balance scale, a packet of student worksheets for practice, and 3 levels of slim booklets leading you through teaching you how to "solve for x".


I used it with then 5th/6th grade DSs. We went through the whole program in about 5-7 days. While it was a very helpful visual/hands-on way to teach an abstract concept for my visual-spatial learner, I thought the price seemed pretty high even back then for such a short usage time, and only teaching ONE concept (plus two slightly more advanced versions of "solving for x"). Yes, both DSs could do equations solving for x afterwards -- although, each was ALSO using a spine math program (older DS = Singapore, younger DS = MUS), and Hands-On Equations was just a visual supplement to make the initial exposure to the concept go more easily, so I honestly can't give ALL the credit to HOE.


You might try some of the free resources FIRST -- AND, the written portion of the first option below is extremely similar to the written explanations in Hands-On Equations.


1. Solving Equations -- the written explanation and practice problems here are very similar to the written explanations in Hands-On Equations


2. Khan Academy Algebra video tutorials here -- video tutorial, very different from Hands-On Equations way of visualizing solving for x, but that may connect well for your DCs' learning styles...


3. Online Math Learning website: Algebra Math Games (scroll about halfway down the page to subheading of "Algebra Games or Activities to Learn How to Solve Equations") -- some of the links take you to VERY similar visuals and explanations as in Hands-On Equations -- of how to solve for x using the picture of a balance scale...


I can't advise you about whether or not it's worth it to buy the Hands-On Equations DVD or not, since I have no personal experience with the video lessons. However -- JMO, BUT -- if I were to buy a version of HOE that costs $100+, I would *certainly* expect it to cover quite a few different algebra topics, and to have enough instruction and material to last for at least a semester! If the pricey version is still only about solving for x -- no way! Go with the linked materials on-line instead.


For that kind of money, [if your student needs manipulatives] I would probably be more inclined to buy the MUS Pre-Algebra... and have a full-year [math with manipulatives] that would be easy to incorporate with... some of the free online tutorials listed above as supplement. Bonus: MUS is [possibly] easier to resell and recoup more of your investment when you are done with it than Hands-On Equations..."

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I did not buy the videos, and this is just my opinion, it's not necessary. If you don't buy the Verbal Book, it will only last at most one semester with a 6th grader. With the Verbal Book, which is additional $30 something, it could last you a couple of years. There are a lot of word problems.


Oh, Lori, thanks for the link to that Xavier PDF.


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With the Verbal Book, which is additional $30 something, it could last you a couple of years.




Thanks for sharing about The Verbal Book -- it is new since we used the program. That sounds like it makes the program more worthwhile.


I was going to suggest to OP to buy used, but, alas, I'm not seeing it currently up for sale used anywhere. (The current one on ebay does NOT have the instruction books with problem sets.)

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