A new Equal sign

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With all due respect to Robert Recorde who invented the equal sign about 500 years ago, I’m going to suggest to changing it a bit to clarify some things.

As you may know in his book  The Whetstone of Witte, Robert Recode got tired of having to write that both sides of an equation were equal so he wrote:

” Instead of using a phrase to convey meaning, he would convey the same meaning with a symbol. What symbol could be more appropriate than a pair of equal-length lines? Nothing, noe 2 thyngs, can be moare equalle.”

In our history of working with children who have dyscalculia for over a decade, we have seen a lot of confusion about the = sign. Children believe it to mean “action” as they see the answers popping up on their calculators when they hit the button marked =. In Robert Recorde’s time there were no calculators to add to the confusion, so the problem never may have occurred to him.

Today we want to present a new design for the equal sign. Something that will make it easier to explain that both sides are in balance, are of equal value, have the same weight.

As you can see we have tried to use an icon of a seesaw, to replace the equal sign. This will remind the children immediately that both sides need to be balanced. The choice of the seesaw is just a little departure from the equal sign but we believe the impact will be large.

Please let us know what you think.

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