Education Technology

Patterns, Functions, and Algebraic Reasoning

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students learn to use the calculator to generate recursive patterns. They explore the connection from patterns to functions and algebraic reasoning. Students examine the idea of a variable for an unknown quantity and express mathematical relationships using equations.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 21 - 46 from the attached PDF file
  • During the Activity

    Distribute pages the pages to the class.

    Follow the activity procedure:
    Activity 1: Guess My Number

  • On the calculator set a function to add a number
  • Enter numbers and use the results to find the number added by the function
  • Find what number will give a specified number as a result with the same operation function


  • Activity 2: Connecting Cubes
  • Understand the pattern made by the connected cubes
  • Find different methods of determining the pattern
  • Observe the pattern uses skip counting and multiples of a number
  • Use the calculator to find the color of the 20th and 147th cube
  • Examine other given sets of connected cubes and find the patterns


  • Activity 3: Skip Counting
  • Using information about the number of times skip counting was performed and the result after skip counting, determine the number used to skip count
  • Understand that there is more than one solution to each problem
  • Examine the result of skip counting by one and zero
  • Work backwards to find the starting value
  • Learn to see a pattern and solve other problems related to skip counting
  • Use other elementary school activities to develop an understanding of recursive algebra
  • After the Activity

    Review students results and re-teach concepts as necessary.