# Visual Algebra – Emoji Style

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By: Mary Kienstra on: June 12, 2017 in: #tlap, algebra, emoji, Engagement *
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Algebra is fun and engaging when emojis represent the unknowns. Solving these equations seems like working a puzzle, not an Algebra problem. Kids love visual Algebra – emoji style. It doesn’t even seem like work.

According to Jo Boaler, *Visual mathematics is an important part of mathematics for its own sake and new brain research tells us that visual mathematics even helps students learn numerical mathematics. *Emojis are just that – the bridge between visual mathematics and numerical mathematics.

If you haven’t seen www.mashupmath.com go there NOW! Anthony Persico and his group have developed **Challenge Problems** that your students will love! The thing about Mashupmath’s challenge problems is that they are emoji puzzles. Your students will not even realize they are solving Algebra problems.

Even third graders can solve 4 equations with 4 unknowns using mashupmath’s emoji math. This is Algebraic thinking at it’s best! Once your students are hooked on this way of thinking, the sky is the limit. Download mashupmath’s ebook (only $9.99) when your students are ready for more emoji math challenges.

Better yet, let your students create these engaging math problems. You know creating is where students show if they truly understand a concept. My students created emoji math problems and then shared them with each other through Google Slides. Win. Win.

Many times the math curriculum in elementary school includes an “Algebra Unit” that encompasses a few weeks of the year. In addtion to that unit, my students solve these kinds of emoji math problems **weekly** to extend their thinking. Of course it takes practice to develop this thinking, but solving these “puzzles” made this thinking accessible to everyone.

Every Monday, the kids looked forward to seeing what each “theme” would be in the Mashupmath challenges and solving for the emojis. These are very engaging puzzles that develop strong Algebraic thinking strategies. And the kids think they are playing with emojis!