Week of October 26th – Patterning & Algebra

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 Exploring Resources

This week involved an exploration of Patterning and Algebra. We explored patterns to familiarize ourselves with the concepts of pattern rules, pattern cores, and describing and extending patterns. These concepts are important in the junior grades. Since it is Halloween time, our learning activities had relation to that theme. For example, we were asked to create and extend a pattern using Halloween candies.

Tom creates an “AABBAA” pattern with chocolates and caramel

Ontariomathresources.ca has a good collection of patterning and algebra resources that could be useful to junior level (grade 4-6) teachers or parents. They are almost all in relation to the Ontario context.

We also explored some higher level patterning and algebra. In grade 7, the Ontario curriculum for math emphasizes “representing linear growing patterns using concrete materials, graphs, and algebraic expressions” (Ontario, p105) in the Patterning and Algebra stand. Graphs give a great visual representation of the relationships between variables. Grade 7 student also must “develop and represent the general term of a linear growing pattern, using algebraic expressions involving one operation” (Ontario, p105). One of our presenters, Henry, showed us this activity that could be useful. Students have to match a word problem with the appropriate algebraic expressions.

Rabbit Reproduction Patterning: For some more intermediate level fun with patterning and algebra, I would like to highlight an activity we used in class. It is a bunny reproduction problem that requires students to think critically and uncover a pattern. Click the link to read a nice explanation of (and solution to) the problem! The question is an excellent way to get students into a patterning mindset. When we used it in our class we found it to be very valuable to assess the current levels of our students. Although it is unrealistic, it is quite fun to explore with the students!

Edugains has a TIPS4 Revised Math document that could be useful for intermediate math educators.


Before today, I was not familiar with patterning for junior grades and would have been uncomfortable teaching them. I think that because patterns seem so obvious to me, I would lack the language to try to explain it to younger students. I found this week’s exploration to be a really useful review of patterning and algebra. It was beneficial to have these demonstrated to me during the learning presentations and also during my own explorations. I was exposed to the language and manipulatives needed to give me a higher confidence in the classroom should I start teaching younger grades.

Patterning should be an exciting strand of math to teach. I want to try and bring some real life applications to this strand as often as I can. We naturally look for patterns and try to categorize things as we go about our day. I’m hoping to continue to explore more resources to keep patterning relevant and interesting to my students.


Ontario. (2005). The Ontario curriculum, grades 1-8. Mathematics. Toronto: Ontario, Ministry of Education.

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