Education Technology

Patterns, Functions, and Algebraic Reasoning

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.