Funky Fruit

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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.

  • 1.

    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.

  • 2.

    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.

  • 3.

    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.

  • 4.

    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.

  • 5.

    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?

  • 6.

    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.

  • 7.

    Discuss number patterns noticed by the children. Invite children to share ways to use picture symbols to represent numerical values in their own ways.

Standards

  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • MATH: Work with addition and subtraction equations.
  • MATH: Generate and analyze patterns.
  • VA: Students will demonstrate that art communicates meaning through sharing their work and the work of others.
  • VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.

Adaptations

  • Link math to other areas of the curriculum by creating picture symbols that connect to subjects children are investigating (fruit symbols go with a nutrition unit, flowers with a plant unit, sun and clouds with a weather unit, etc.).
  • Create expressions with two picture symbols. How does one variable change as the other variable increases or decreases?
  • Use Dry-Erase Crayons to create colorful input-output tables to accompany algebraic expressions of increasing complexity. At the top of the table draw the picture symbol(s). Below each symbol record the values. Discuss the patterns children observe. As the value of one symbol increases, what happens to the value of the other symbol?