Elementary School Operations and Algebraic Thinking Patterns

Patterns for Lil’ Guys

What about this table and her knowledge about numbers, lead this kid to put down 39? Tell a story in the comments.

6 replies on “Patterns for Lil’ Guys”

Kids (and adults) think there is something natural about the place value. So the pattern has to make sense within groups of 10. What I mean is, I’m guessing the kid would continue the pattern

25 29 33 37 39 41 45 49 53 57 59 61 65 69 etc

or something similar. In other words, thinking that each digit should form its own pattern.

PS This is my first comment. I think this site is a brilliant idea.

I also thought that maybe this student was considering the ones and tens separately, in which case perhaps s/he thought the tens should go 2, 2, 3, 3, 3… then four fours, etc. S/he observed the ones are increasing, but 9 is as high as you can go even though it doesn’t quite fit the pattern.

Another thought: Maybe the answer drew on some knowledge or common sense about the context, “story time”. Maybe there are only 39 students in this child’s class, for example, and s/he reasons that’s the maximum, pattern or no pattern.

I bet the child recognized both that the pattern was increasing, and that the ones’ digits were all odd. So continuing those two elements, 39 makes perfect sense!

This makes the most sense to me. After all, a “pattern” could be any pattern, it doesn’t have to be the arithmetic pattern the question intended. It seems that this type of question could be opened up to a discussion, even with little guys, about different patterns they see. What is changing, and what is staying the same? It would be great to pick a pattern that could be interpreted in several different ways for the discussion, and decide as a class how to talk about those different kinds of patterns.

Jinger, I love starting work with patterns that only show the first two terms. It leaves it open for a much wider variety of solutions. For example, a pattern begins 2, 6, how might it continue. There are a great variety of solutions that would lead to some real rich discussion

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