The EquaBeam is the quintessential math balance:
• Its single-beam construction and adjustment clips beneath the beam ensure accuracy.
• The weights are covered so as not to be an “attractive nuisance” for young children.
• The zero peg is aligned with the pegs for the numerals 1-10 as on a number line.
• Together, the front and back pegs for a numeral hold 10 weights which allows the demonstration of the multiplication facts and division facts up to the decades, for example, up to 10 x 5 = 50 for the multiplication facts for 5 and up to 90 ÷ 9 = 10 for the division facts for 9.
• The beam extends out to 12, instead of 10, on either side to utilize the divisibility of 12 for multiplication (like 3 x 4 = 12), division (like 12 ÷ 6 = 2), and fractions (like 1/3 + 1/4 = 7/12) and to capitalize on the fre-quency of 12 in everyday equivalences such as twelve 5-minute intervals in an hour, 12 inches in a foot, and 12 months in a year.
• The channel side of the beam facilitates changing topics with strips that fit in the channel and re-label the pegs.
As a hands-on, interactive math manipulative for elementary school students, the EquaBeam is unparalleled in versatility and sophistication. It is the perfect manipulative for reinforcing the number facts and revealing the structure of arithmetic—that the facts are commutative (a+b = b+a), associative, [(a+b)+c = a+(b+c)], and distributive [a(b+c) = ab+ac]—thus aiding mental arithmetic and reducing the number of facts to be learned. Its use in introducing algebra, as with Nice Mice ALGEBRA on pages 13-14, is natural and non-threatening to students of all ages. (Variables such as A, B, C, … are simply “numbers to find on the EquaBeam.”) By relabeling the pegs on the channel side, the EquaBeam can be used to teach time, money, measurement, fractions, decimals, percent, and more in conjunction with other manipulatives (clocks, play money, measuring devices, fraction models, etcetera).
Because of its self-checking nature, the EquaBeam is particularly suited to instructional centers and independent learning. The recommended number of EquaBeams for an instructional center is 2-4, allowing for 4-8 students at the center. For a school, add 10 EquaBeams for every 10 classes to be shared among the classes for whole-class lessons using the EquaBeam.