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  • Patterns exist in, and are a regular occurrence in mathematics
  • They can be recognised, extended and generalised with both words, numerals and symbols 
  • The same pattern can be found in many different forms

Inquiry Question

How might addition, subtraction and multiplication be used to explore and create patterns?

Resource

NSW Government Education

NSW Government Education website provides a great overview of strategies and activities to support students in their ability to reason with number patterns promoting the ‘Think Aloud Strategy.’ 

Link: NSW Government Education

re(Solve)

re(Solve) is a Mathematics and Numeracy website with many inquiries aligned to the Australian curriculum created by the Australian Government Department of Education.  This link provides two tasks, Counter Toss and Number Letter Box which builds the learners algebraic thinking through explorations of additive number patterns.

Link: re(Solve)

Youcubed - Squares Upon Squares

Youcubed is a website with many Mathematical and Numeracy resources created by Jo Boaler, Professor of Education at Stanford University. The investigation, Square upon Squares, asks learners to reflect on “How do you see the shapes growing?”

Link: Youcubed - Squares Upon Squares

Youcubed - Ice Cream Scoop

Youcubed is a website with many Mathematical and Numeracy resources created by Jo Boaler, Professor of Education at Stanford University. The Ice-Cream Scoop task is an open-ended inquiry allowing learners to engage at different levels, exploring growing patterns which can also extend to working in combinatorics.

Link: Youtube - Ice Cream Scoop

Advice for Teachers

In Year 3 students begin to explore patterns which progress through steps or sequences. These are referred to as growing patterns. When exploring growing patterns encourage students to:

  • Build their patterns with everyday materials available. If this is not possible, encourage them to draw models
  • Build or draw each sequence or term separately
  • Predict what they think will happen and why
  • Talk about their pattern and what they notice
  • Determine how each step differs from the previous one
  • Arrange numeric components in a table to predict, analyse and prove thinking

Adapted from: Van de Walle. J and Lovin.L, Teaching Student Centred Mathematics: Grades K-3, 2006