Patterning is an element of art, of architecture,
of nature and of our number system.
This is why most elementary classes will
begin the year with patterning activities.
In Grade 5, students use all their knowledge
of increasing and decreasing patterns to work
with mathematical formulas. This year, students
will learn about pattern rules.
If you think about it, all patterns have rules
so that anyone anywhere can reproduce the
Children labelled patterns with letters so that
one child could make the ABB pattern with
coloured sticks while another used blocks and
another used beads.
The rule is: use one of one kind and two of
a different kind.
For the increasing and decreasing patterns,
the child must determine where the pattern
starts and then what happens to the pattern
to make it go down or up.
Examples: 4, 7, 10, 13, 16…. Start at 4 then
25, 21, 17, 13… Start at _____ then ______
Several years before, students learned to
count by tens, starting at any number and now
students learn how to describe that pattern.
18, 28, 38, 48 …. Start at ___ then ______
Many text books introduce the idea of an
Input/Output Machine to generate patterns.
The machine is drawn with a task on it such
Students input the first number and then
calculate what will come out, recording this
information on a T chart.
Gradually, the complexity of the patterns
increases. Try this one:
14, 9, 17, 12, 20…. Start at _____ then _____
I encourage students to record how the numbers
change so that they see the hidden pattern
within. 14 (-5) 9 (+8) 17 (-5) 12 (+8) 20….
More processes are introduced: 3, 6, 7, 14,
15, 30 …. Start at 3 then x2 and +1
These patterns are very easy to create.
Challenge your child to create patterns for
you to figure and do the same for him.
And, don’t be afraid to use simple division
because this is the grade where students work
hard on that skill as well.
For questions or requests email: do-math@
Next Article: Grade 6/7 Patterning