# How to Keep Students Laughing (at you) with these Algebra Jokes and Riddles Resources!

I remember it all too well.

I would stand by the door. Close my eyes. Take a deep breath. Straighten my back to hide the nerves in my stomach.

And walk into the room to teach my Algebra class.

Don’t get me wrong – I love math. It’s the one language that makes any sense to me. Even working with algebraic expressions without any bells and whistles is fun for me.

**But I was Struggling**…

If you were to talk to high school students in rural Kentucky, I’m not sure they would relate to my love for math. I think you’re more likely to see them with their hands on their laps with their phones out, scrolling through TikTok or Snapchat hoping to not do any work today. Sound familiar!

It’s hard getting students to value algebra, what with all the letters replacing numbers. It didn’t matter how often I connected math to real life. When it came down to necessary practice work, students lost sight of the bigger picture.

“It’s MATH class,” they would whine, “why are we using LETTERS, I thought it was supposed to be all numbers?”

Or, “I’m NEVER going to use this in my life, so why do I have to learn this?”

Such creative complaints.

And so, during the early days of teaching, my stomach was always nervous before I stepped into my math classroom. I never felt I was doing enough.

But, by complete accident, I discovered a different way to get students engaged. I hate to say this as an educator, but sometimes the importance of a topic is not going to be the THING that gets kids to want to learn it.

So then, what was it?

**The Fluke Inspiration**

One day, I was about to introduce irrational numbers. I was just feeling silly, and greeted my class with one of these:

**“What do you call a bunch of guys who love math? Alge-bros!”**

Well. The laughing was NOT uproarious. Some kids even rolled their eyes. But they DID smirk because they had a reason to laugh at me. And some kids DID laugh at the joke because corny dad jokes were their jam.

Either way, as awkward as it was at first, it worked to lighten the tone of the class right from the start. For a split moment, I had their attention!

And then, by some fluke, I had one of my favorite math memes on hand, just for teaching irrational numbers. So I hit them with one of these right after to keep the cringiness going:

They LOVED it.

I mean, they didn’t laugh uproariously. But this meme fed off the energy from my “Alge-bros” joke, and the heaviness lifted not just from my heart, but from the entire room.

A lightbulb went off in my brain. Of course.

What is one thing that connects us all and never fails to create community?

*Humor…OR Algebra Jokes and Riddles to be more specific*

So let me show you how I started to break up the monotony of Algebra class… using humor!

## Incorporating Algebra Jokes and Riddles to Keep Students Laughing (often at you)

Aside from cheesy one-liners and memes, one of the most effective ways to inject some humor into monotonous math practice is through algebra jokes and riddles!

When the kids are practicing, for example, how to simplify and evaluate algebraic expressions, I would give them a riddle to solve. They then work through a set of math problems and** use their answers to solve the given riddle**.

Here are two examples:

These clever Algebra jokes and riddles are not only entertaining but will also challenge your students to think critically while playfully applying their algebraic skills.

And, much like the cheesy one-liners and memes, you will probably get a few of the teenagers rolling their eyes at the dad jokes, and maybe even a few of them laughing at you for the bad puns. But it all lends itself to building community, lightening the mood, and making algebra less boring.

So as they work through the set of problems to solve the riddles, students have extra motivation to get the answers right, AND they’re rewarded at the end with a silly joke at the end!

When I used these resources in my class, instead of those dreaded groans and sighs, I heard giggles and laughter echoing throughout my classroom.

And the heaviness lifted right out of my heart 🙂

**Resource Round-Up and Other Inspo**

Listen, I’ll admit it. Even with these riddles and jokes, the number of eye rolls that I’ve gotten from teenagers has surpassed the hundreds, if not thousands by now. But it doesn’t matter. Students eventually wanted that cheesy humor incorporated into my lessons – if not for the uproarious laughter, then at the very least, for something different to brighten their day.

The best part? When the groaning in my classroom went from “groans of dreading work” to “groans of teenagers roasting me for flopping on a joke”!

So here they are again: my differentiated algebra resources with riddles and jokes integrated into the work!

**Here are some BONUS resources for you:** I’ve worked really hard to incorporate other creative puzzles and crafts into my algebra practice too. I talk a lot about 4 easy differentiation strategies to make the class more interesting in this blog. Here are some resources that help:

- Got an artsy in your class? Send her some of these color-by-code activities, or these Tarsia puzzles to change up your routine!
- How about kids who love a good mystery? A scavenger hunt may do the trick for them!
- And the kids who would benefit from being shown practice problems one at a time? These task cards are the perfect accommodation tool.

Of course, let me know how incorporating those jokes and riddles worked out for you! And if you decide to try the other bonus resources too, I would love to know if your students enjoyed them.