PATTERNS AND POSSIBILITIES
This lesson provides students with an understanding of the value
and importance of patterns in mathematics. Through video, interaction and
hands-on activities, students will identify concrete and abstract patterns
incorporating logic and deductive and inductive reasoning. Video is used
as a catalyst allowing individuals to employ conjecture to determine potential
methods (answers) related to how a pattern is formed.
Problem Solving: Simplifying the Problem
Problem Solving: Using Tables
Problem Solving: Looking for a Pattern
Logical Reasoning #103
Students will be able to:
- find patterns;
- correlate patterns with possible outcomes;
- show relationship of patterns to logical, deductive and in-ductive
- establish a mutual relation between patterns and increased probability
- use conjecture to discover possible methods/answers to how a pattern
(per group of four)
- 1 chalkboard and chalk
- 1 black dry-erase marker
- 1 each red, yellow and
- blue dry-erase marker
- 1 box facial tissues
- 1 sheet notebook paper
- 1 pencil
- 1 scissors
- 1 Activity Sheet (grid)
Have students stand and count-off one through six. Use the activity
to form groups of six students each. Say, "You are going to participate
in a handshake game. The object is to shake the hand of each person in your
group. Be sure to shake each individual's hand only once." Allow time
for each group to complete the task; monitor to ensure instructions have
been followed. Ask, "How many hands were shaken within your group?"
Allow students to interact. Say, "Did you include yourself in the count?
Why?" Permit students to respond and qualify no. Ask, "What type
computation did you use to solve the problem?" Accept all reasonable
attempts to solve the problem. Ask, "Can you tell an easier way to
find an answer to the question?" Elicit dis-cussion leading to conclusion
there is an easier method.
Say, "You are going to see a video that will help you determine
an easier method to resolve the question." To give students a specific
responsibility while viewing say, "Watch and be prepared to compare
the number of handshakers in the video to the number in our class."
Problem Solving: Simplifying the Problem #107
BEGIN tape with opening sequence; PAUSE tape on visual of host
and student with a look of puzzlement on his face. Audio is, "Of course
there are a number of ways to go about solving this problem or any other
problem." Ask, "What was the number of participants at the ball?"
(fifty) "How did this differ with the number in our class?" Survey
students as you evaluate individual perceptions that reveal understanding
there were more participants at the ball.
Ask, "Would it be easier if the large group of fifty were divided into
smaller groups?" (yes) "How could you figure the total number
if divided into small groups?" Allow students to share their beliefs
related to the question. To give students a specific responsibility while
viewing say, "Watch the next video and decide if your method for determining
the total number of handshakers is better than the one on the video."
RESUME tape. PAUSE tape with visual of host asking, "Do
you know what the answer is?"
Encourage students to compare group sizes on video with size of groups the
class was divided into. (class and video groups were same or six individuals
each) Ask, "In your opinion, is it easier to solve the problem in a
smaller group?" Allow students to confirm yes and qualify their opinion.
Ask, "What did the students recognize about the method used to determine
the number of handshakers in the groups of six?" Elicit discussion
leading to conclusion that a pattern was established; a table was set up
to show concrete evidence of the pattern.
Distribute a sheet of notebook paper and a pencil to each student. Say,
"Set up a table similar to the one you saw on the video, then use it
to prove the number of handshakes that occurred earlier in your group."
Move among students and verify accuracy of tables and/or assist individuals
as needed. Allow time for the task to be completed. Have a volunteer tell
and demonstrate on chalkboard how they set up and used the table to arrive
at the answer, fifteen. Encourage remaining students to evaluate accuracy
of the chalk-board table as they endorse correctness or tell changes needed
to make it correct. Say, "Give close attention to how it was necessary
to recognize the pattern of the five totals before determining the answer
to number six." Emphasize, "This is a pattern." For reinforcement,
have someone again explain the pattern. Ask, "Is there a different
pattern in each column?" Allow volunteers to tell there are differences
as they are explained or contrasted among columns.
Refer to chalkboard as you explain the first column increases by one, the
second column increases by one more, etc. Say, "This is similar yet
different from the pattern shown on the video. Who will compare it as similar?
Who will contrast the difference?" (sum of the two numbers in preceding
column is the base needed to begin calculating the unknown number of handshakes
in the next column) Ask, "Now that you understand the pattern, how
might it be helpful for calculating the total number of handshakes involving
fifty people?" Allow for responses. To give students a specific responsibility
while viewing say, "Watch the next video to find out if your belief
about how a pattern might be helpful is the same as the video host's."
RESUME tape. STOP tape on visual of the host seated beside
the Math Works logo; audio is, "... and since we discovered a pattern,
we might be able to find the answer to fifty people." Allow time for
students to compare/contrast their beliefs with the video host's. Say, "Work
together as a team and calculate the total number of handshakes when fifty
people are involved. Decide as a group which of the two patterns you prefer,
then use it to solve the problem." Allow time for each group to present
and explain their computations. Make a mental note of individuals who need
additional help or reteaching of the concepts. Schedule small group or individual
assistance at a later time.
Say, "Becoming skillful in recognizing patterns isn't just a school
activity. This ability is important as you attempt to solve everyday problems
in your life and for many people, solving problems on the job. Use your
knowledge about patterns and tables and imagine how these skills might help
you solve a crime if you were a law enforcement officer." Encourage
students to offer creative ways to use the skills as you list each on the
chalkboard. Accept each without challenge. To give students a specific responsibility
while viewing say, "Watch the next video of a police officer profiling
characteristics of crimes that have been committed. See if your list includes
ways patterns are used to help solve crimes as shown on the video."
Problem Solving: Using Tables #110
BEGIN tape on visual of officer walking toward a computer; audio is,
"...at police headquarters in NYC..." STOP tape on audio,
"...this method of interrogation really seems to work." Allow
students to tell whether they had previously listed a use of patterns and
tables as seen on video. Ask, "What ways of using patterns at the NYC
police headquarters were shown?" (Patterns are used to show where more
crimes are occurring and to predict when and where the next crime will occur.
In addition, crimes are profiled with the information used to compare similar
profiles of known criminals.) Ask, "What important qualification necessary
to becoming a police officer was discussed in the video?" (ability
to identify patterns in tables)
Engage students in a discussion on people patterns emphasizing that everyone
has her/his own unique patterns. Have them contemplate, then share what
they believe their personal people patterns might include. Ask, "Once
you recognize and understand your own personal patterns, how can you use
this knowledge to help you in the future?" Elicit discussion drawing
conclusion that if you recognize a pattern that often or generally creates
a problem for yourself, look for ways the pattern can be changed to benefit
you. Ask, "Who has a personal pattern you're willing to share that
always causes you trouble?" Allow volunteer to explain. Suggest they
include how they could change this pattern so it will benefit them. Allow
students to tell patterns they recognize in others. Ask, "How can skill
in recognizing patterns be helpful in analyzing the past to predict the
future?" Ask, "What are some of my patterns that help you predict
how I would react to specific situations?" Allow students to be candid
and have fun with patterns they have recognized.
Say, "Understanding patterns is important to all aspects of our lives."
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch
the next video and be prepared to name the occupation of a man with a great
fondness for patterns."
Problem Solving: Looking for a Pattern #114
BEGIN tape immediately following opening credits; PAUSE tape
after audio, "... he loved all kinds of patterns." Allow students
to identify the man's occupation as a floor tile salesman. To give students
a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video
and be able to answer: Exactly what makes a pattern?" RESUME
tape; PAUSE tape after a few seconds on audio, "Here's one kind
of pattern made up of numbers and shapes." Allow time for students
to tell: a pattern is a sequence of shapes and numbers that can be predicted
in an orderly way. Engage the class in discussion as you evaluate the level
of comprehension related to easily predicting a direction the pattern's
sequence is leading.
Write abstract and concrete on the chalkboard. Ask volunteers to contrast
the terms. Discuss why people patterns are abstract, while (e.g.) patterns
created by floor tiles are concrete. Have students name other abstract patterns
(weather, personal habits, etc.) and other concrete patterns (city blocks,
waves created by tossing a pebble in a pond, etc.). Ask, "How might
you represent abstract patterns in a concrete way?" (charts, graphs,
tables, etc.) Say, "Concrete patterns can be found everywhere in our
environment if we would take time to observe them. Do you see examples of
concrete patterns in the classroom?" (window panes, floor tiles, book
shelves, arrangement of seats, etc.) To give students a specific responsibility
while viewing, say "In the next video, three different patterns are
shown. Watch and be ready to tell what they are." RESUME tape.
PAUSE tape after all numbers have appeared in both sequencing patterns.
Allow students to name patterns as floor designs, geometric designs and
number patterns. Refer to the freeze-frame of numbers on the television
monitor, then ask "Are all numbers on the monitor one large pattern?"
(No; there are two sets of sequences.) Say, "Observe the top row of
numbers. What number pattern do you recognize?" (Each number increases
by three.) "Observe the second row of numbers. Is there a pattern?"
Allow for observation/discovery, then accept the answer that each number
doubles over the previous number.
Use the following or teacher-selected non-patterned numbers, then list in
column form on the chalkboard: 4, 24, 64, 44, 84. Say, "Observe, then
describe the pattern you identify in the column of numbers." (This
task is not possible as there is no logical sequencing.) Allow time for
students to discover and tell there is no pattern represented. Ask, "Who
will come to the chalkboard and rearrange the numbers to create a pattern?"
(A correct sequencing might be 4, 24, 44, 54, 84; left to right, each number
increases by 20. An additional correct sequencing might be 84, 64, 44, 24,
4; left to right, each number decreases by 20.) Ask, "Is this an abstract
or concrete pattern?" (concrete)
Say, "Patterns can be easily identified at times and more difficult
at other times. In the next video, patterns are used to help treasure hunters
find a hidden key that will unlock a safe." To give students a specific
responsibility while viewing say, "Watch and find out how quickly you
can discover the number pattern used in the treasure hunt. In addition,
listen for the name of the method used to discover the pattern." RESUME
tape. PAUSE tape after the narrator says, "... if it does, you
simply carry out the pattern to solve the problem." Ask, "How
soon did you discover the pattern used in sequencing the numbers?"
Allow students to respond, then tell that each number increased by four.
Ask, "What name was given to the method used to find the pattern?"
(guess and check) Allow a volunteer to explain the guess and check method.
Create a teacher-designed number pattern and write it on the chalk-board.
Select a student to use the guess and check method for discovering the pattern
as they explain each step verbally. Instruct all students to use the guess
and check method to find a pattern for each of the following: 17, 34, 51,
68 (increases by 17); 144, 132, 120, 108 (decreases by 12).
Say, "Not all patterns are easily identified." To give students
a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video
and look for clues to the pattern as I freeze frame the row of numbers."
RESUME tape and FREEZE frame on visual showing a row of numbers;
audio is, "The numbers seem to get larger and smaller in a random fashion."
Provide a dry-erase marker as volunteers go to the television monitor and
circle, then explain a clue they believe will lead to identifying the pattern.
Use teacher discretion as activity is brought to closure. Use a facial tissue
to clean the monitor's screen. RESUME tape. PAUSE tape on
visual of students in a basement; audio is, "... and proceed that many
steps." Allow time for students to discuss clues they identified that
were helpful in discovering the pattern.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Again,
see how quickly you can find clues to the pattern as I freeze the frame."
RESUME tape. PAUSE and freeze frame on visual of pattern diagram
fully on monitor's screen. Follow the previous procedure as volunteers circle
clues on the screen, then explain why it was chosen as a clue. Clean screen.
RESUME tape and PAUSE on visual of two people walking in the
dark; audio is, "Keep going Tim, don't stop!" Ask, "Did you
find identifying this pattern to be more difficult?" Allow for response.
Ask, "In what way was this pattern different from previous patterns?"
Allow students to explain.
Write Leonardo Fibonacci on chalkboard. Explain, he designed a sequence
of numbers that became known as the Fibonacci Sequence. To give students
a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch as numbers listed
on the next video for the Fibonacci Sequence are shown in the freeze frame
mode. Copy the sequence on your notebook paper, then be prepared to explain
the pattern you discover." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape and
freeze frame on visual of numbers listed for the Fibonacci Sequence. Allow
students to duplicate numbers on their notebook paper, then incorporate
the guess and check method to discover the pattern of the Fibonacci Sequence.
Provide time for volunteers to identify and explain how they solved the
problem. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch
and compare your explanation to one given on the video." RESUME
tape. Allow students to compare explanations of the Fibonacci Sequence as
you PAUSE tape on visual of pine cone; audio is, "...rows or
scales are numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence."
Say, "In the next video, once again a table is used to identify a pattern."
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Look
for the pattern and raise your hand when you've found it." RESUME
tape; PAUSE and freeze frame on visual of blue screen background
and the empty table prior to numbers being provided; audio is, "Start
looking for a pattern; do you see one?" Encourage volunteers to suggest
potential answers for the pattern progression, then provide a dry-erase
marker so information can be written on the television monitor. Following
discussion say, "Watch to check your answers with the ones given on
the next video segment." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape after
numbers have been added to create the table. Have students compare their
answers with those given on the video.
Explain there are ways other than numbers to create patterns. To give students
a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As I freeze frame the
diagram of a quilt, decide ways the colors might repeat to form an orderly
sequence." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape and freeze frame on
visual of gray background and the diagram of a quilt; audio is, "Let's
see if the colors repeat themselves in an orderly way." Invite three
volunteers to go to the monitor and solve the problem. Give a red dry-erase
marker to one volunteer, a yellow to another volunteer and a blue marker
to the third volunteer. Say, "Work as a team to determine the number
of red, yellow and blue pieces needed to create a sequence of color pattern
on the quilt." After numbers are determined, students should demonstrate
the pattern using their dry-erase markers and the monitor screen. NOTE:
The entire quilt is not shown on the screen. Assist as needed to compute
the answer. Discuss, then erase the monitor's screen. Say, "Let's watch
another video and consider another way to determine how many yellow pieces
are needed." To give students a specific responsibility while viewing
say, "Raise your hand when you recognize the alternate method for solving
the problem." RESUME tape; STOP tape at end of video
and prior to closing credits. Allow students to discuss/review use of tables
for identifying patterns.
Explain that another video shows how a detective uses logical reasoning
related to patterns for determining if a suspect could be responsible for
other unsolved crimes. To give students a specific responsibility while
viewing say, "Watch the video and be prepared to explain any patterns
Logical Reasoning #103
BEGIN tape immediately following opening credits. PAUSE tape
and freeze frame after all X's have been added; audio is, "Did the
person in custody commit any of the other robberies?" Have students
observe, then decide if there are patterns that could be considered as links
to any of the seven crimes. To give students a specific responsibility while
viewing say, "Watch to see if you identified the correct links."
RESUME tape. PAUSE tape on visual of black background with
chart in view; audio is, "...with their hands tucked under their shirts."
Allow students to validate their identification of logical links.
Say, "The logical reasoning approach utilized patterns to help solve
some very important cases. Although you may have been unable to follow every
strand of logic used in the video, the fact that patterning can be much
more complex and diverse than simply studying numbers and floor tiles was
well made." Write inductive reasoning on the chalkboard. Say, "Whenever
you search for a pattern that will apply every time, you are using inductive
reasoning." Write conjecture on the chalkboard. To give students a
specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video and
be prepared to explain the term conjecture." RESUME tape. PAUSE
tape on visual of boy pondering the game; audio is the girl, "... maybe
you'll figure it out." Allow students to explain conjecture (a conclusion
deduced by surmise or guesswork). Ask, "Has anyone figured out the
trick? Are you sure you understand rules to the game?" Accept responses.
Ask, "Does it matter who goes first in the game?" (yes) To give
students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the video
to learn the rules and be ready to explain the method of winning."
RESUME tape. STOP tape at end of game; audio is the boy, "...
whatever they do, you can always leave them with the last coin." Elicit
discussion as students explain rules to the game and the method of winning.
Attach column headings numbered 1-36 to the classroom walls.
Divide the class into groups of four students each. Distribute 1 scissors
and 1 Activity Sheet (grid) to each student and a roll of clear tape to
each group. Assign each group two small and two larger numbers that fall
Say, "Patterns can be found in factors of numbers. The pattern will
lead to discovery of whether a number is prime or composite, whether it
is a square and what its area and perimeter is." Instruct groups to
carefully consider all rectangles that can be made from each assigned number.
(e.g.) Use the number 4. 2 x 2 = 4; cut out two squares by two squares,
creating a 2 x 2 square. REMIND: A square meets all criteria of a rectangle.
Say, "The factor of 4 x 1 is also applicable to the number 4."
Cut out a rectangle four squares long by one square wide. Tape both grid
models to the wall under the heading numbered four.
Allow time for groups to complete the assigned task. Move around the classroom
and assist as needed. Additional grid sheets will be needed by some groups.
After all groups have finished, instruct students to list all composite
numbers from 1-36 and all prime numbers from 1-36. Initiate discussion as
students are encouraged to identify a pattern applicable to prime numbers
they listed. (All prime numbers will model as a single long rectangle because
their only factor is one and that number.) Ask for identification of the
pattern in all composite numbers. (All have the one times that number pattern
as with prime numbers; however, they have other factors, sometimes several
others.) Ask, "Do you see a pattern with odd and even numbers?"
(No. Odd numbers are not necessarily prime numbers.) "Does the size
of the number necessarily mean it has more factors than the preceding number?"
(No. Difference is determined by whether the number is prime or composite.)
Prompt students toward discovery that all square numbers form a square with
that factor as you ask, "What other important pattern do you see?"
(e.g.) Two squared equals four; three squared is nine; four squared is sixteen,
etc. Numbers with a whole number as a square root (thus making them squared)
are: 4, 9, 16, 25, 36. Discuss.
Make arrangements for a field trip to a local television station.
Request to meet with the meteorologist. Ask her/him to demonstrate how patterns
are used to forecast and report weather. Have students pre-determine questions
about patterns that help in preparing for hurricanes, tornadoes and other
types of extreme weather.
Invite a law enforcement officer to visit your classroom and discuss actual
cases where patterns played an integral part in identifying suspects related
to a crime. Ask him/her to discuss steps generally taken when investigating
a crime or suspected criminal activity.
Have students research genetics and heredity with a focus on Punnet squares,
the method of finding trait possibilities concentrating on dominant and
Encourage students to draw on their personal creativity and design a pattern
to be used in making camouflage garments for military personnel serving
in a jungle environment. Display the designs in your classroom.
Master Teachers: James Parsons and Sharon Braden
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online