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Create equations using picture symbols like fruit, bugs, flowers and shapes. Crayola® Dry Erase Crayons inspire young math minds to add and subtract in full color.
Algebra is a way to express mathematical relationships. Young students can begin to explore algebra by using picture symbols to represent unknown quantities. By substituting symbols for numerical values or variables, students can investigate patterns in mathematical expressions.
Begin by introducing the concept of symbol as a way of representing another idea or value. Provide Crayola® Dry-Erase Crayons and individual whiteboards for students to draw simple symbols in vibrant colors. Discuss how symbols are usually easy to reproduce with just enough details to be able to identify the symbol. Children might create symbols that correspond to classroom science, health, or social studies topics such as insects, flowers, fruits, or stars.
Demonstrate how to use Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons to write simple math equations with picture symbols in place of the solutions. Ask children to create their own equations. Each child can share which numerical value the symbol stands for in his or her math sentence.
Invite pairs of students to create equations with picture symbols in place of one of the numerical expressions in the equation. Partners can challenge each other to determine the values of the symbols.
Expand on substituting picture symbols for numerical values by creating open-ended math expressions with picture symbols. For example, model the expression [watermelon] + 4 = ___. Invite children to solve this equation if the watermelon has a value of 1, 2, 3, etc. Record the answers in a table. What do children notice?
Invite pairs of students to challenge each other with open-ended math expressions on their own whiteboards, recording how the answers change as the value of the symbol changes.
Discuss number patterns noticed by the children. Invite children to share ways to use picture symbols to represent numerical values in their own ways.
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