Internet Mathematics Excursion is a brief mathematics activity. To
maximize student learning, certain prerequisites are necessary to use
this activity. Therefore, it would be appropriate to include this
activity as part of a more fully developed Standards-based lesson, but
it should not be used as a complete stand-alone lesson.
Even before formal schooling, children develop beginning
concepts related to patterns, functions, and algebra. They learn
repetitive songs, rhythmic chants, and predictable poems that are based
on repeating patterns. In this activity, students use the interactive
math applet to create and study red and blue connecting-cube patterns.
The interactive tool is designed so students can create the entire
pattern one connecting-cube at a time, or create the pattern, two
connecting- cubes at a time. The Describing Patterns 1 Activity Sheet, guides students to describe the different patterns,
encourages them to explore different ways to interpret the patterns,
and challenges students to translate the patterns generated, from one
representation to another.
Before students visit the Web site, introduce the excursion by holding up a series of 12 red and blue connecting cubes.
Ask students to describe this "connecting-cube pattern" using
the colors they see. Discuss with students why this pattern could be
named "ABABABAB." Inform students that they will be using the computer
to explore similar "ABABAB" patterns, and investigating different ways
to create the same pattern. They will also analyze different ways to
describe an "ABABAB" pattern. Many students explain the pattern by
saying, "It's a red cube then a blue cube and it keeps going like
that." Some students might describe it as an "ABAB" pattern. Most
students see the pattern being formed as a sequence of single cubes of
Place students into teams of two and distribute a Describing Patterns 1 Activity Sheet to each group. They should visit the following Web site Creating, Describing, and Analyzing Patterns and follow the specific directions provided on the activity sheet.
Working together, partners share the responsibility of "Mouse
Driver" and "Reader/Recorder". The "Reader/Recorder" will read the
directions from the activity sheet and record observations while
guiding the activity. The "Mouse Driver" controls the action of the
mouse and movement on the computer screen. Partners should switch roles
until both have manipulated the cubes.
As students work through the activity, walk from group to group,
encouraging them to describe the connecting-cube pattern using color,
letters and sounds. Challenge students to explore several ways to
describe the pattern. The teacher’s role during his activity is to help
students draw connections between what is happening to the patterns
while moving the cubes. Suggestions for guiding questions will help
facilitate this understanding.
When students have finished the Describing Patterns 1 Activity Sheet, the class should meet to debrief the lesson and learning objectives.