This activity is designed to help students recognize the symbols related to keywords and to understand what the various math/geometry symbols mean. Students will create a message of symbols using the decoder sheet that lists the words associated with each symbol and the code letter associated with the symbol. The students then use the same decoder sheet that to decode another student’s message. For example, > x |x| + corresponds to the words “is greater than,” “times,” “absolute value of |x|,” and “total” which corresponds to the letters M A T H on the decoder sheet, spelling “MATH.” Additionally, there are four pre-defined messages that you can print off for students to decode.
This activity also works well as a math center activity. You can also incorporate writing with this activity by having student journal about the experience with the activity or if you use the pre-defined messages, have them write about what the message means to them.
Please check out my new blog at