Visual Patterns

#mtbos post three
Patterns and Algebra

My third #MTBoS post is about the visual pattern resource,  Generally, patterns (numerical and object-based) are some of the first concepts taught to introduce algebra and number characteristics.   Initially, patterns may seem simple, but they often allow opportunities to enrich and extend instruction into more challenging concepts

My third grade class has been studying patterns and rules during the past two weeks.  One of the activities that we used can be found here.   We’re using math tasks to uncover different type of numerical patterns.   I’ve had the opportunity to visit this site multiple times during the algebra unit.  One of my classes tackled the problem below last week.

Visual Patterns

The students loved that this problem was created by a sixth grade student.  I think this added to their motivation and bonus! … also had them thinking of how they could create their own problems.  The students were given whiteboards and worked with a partner to find the fourth pattern. During that time I asked questions that helped guide the students towards a solution.  With enough time, most groups were able to find a solution.  The class then had a discussion on how the solution was derived.  Then came the fun part …  the partners decided to answer “How many lego pieces are in step 43”?  Student groups then presented their answers to the class.

At some point I’d like to have my students create and submit their own patterns to


3 thoughts on “Visual Patterns

  1. This is
    What I completely adore about visual patterns. You found a way to apply it to your third grade class. I find ways to apply them to my college algebra class. Such openness and versatility amazes me!


  2. It’s great that you used this with elementary students! I used it with my geometry students when studying inductive reasoning and was so surprised about the depth of questions that can arise from a simple pattern. Most patterns have multiple levels of entry.


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