# Using Algebraic Expressions to Describe Patterns

Here is an activity that I adapted from my textbook.

It is an attempt to "meyerize" the lesson - ask leading questions to allow students to discover the mathematics rather than giving an example and explaining the steps to solve.

I first put the slide up on the board and had the students discuss the questions with their "math neighbor" while I took attendance.  I then asked students to share what they had discovered.

I was attempting to work on my common core practices and had the students repeat what they had heard and try to say it another way.

After I felt that the students understood the questions on the slide I handed out the student page and gave them time to work with their partners.

I must say it was a learning experience for both me and my students.  They were taken out of their comfort zone not being told how to solve the problem.  It was a challenge for me to ask questions and listen rather than tell them how to answer the questions.

I have my poster with the 8 practices on the front board, refered to it often and told them that everyone in the state is working on incorporating those 8 practices into the way they learn mathematics.

I had planned about 10 minutes for the activity and it took at least 20 minutes for my Algebra 1 class.

When I did the same lesson with my 2nd class it seemed to be easier for the students.  I am not sure if I did a better job of asking questions or they were just better at what I was asking them to do.

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I used this on Friday for Algebra 1.  On Thursday I had attempted an activity to try and get them to see patterns and form an expression. http://map.mathshell.org/materials/tasks.php?taskid=279&subpage...

That task was too difficult for them and most just decided to give up instead of try to work out the expression or even explain where their answer to question 2 came from.

Then I saw this activity and thought it would be a great point to start, so that students could get more confidence with the idea of seeing patterns and writing expressions.

I made some changes to make the creation of an expression more student-led.  I focused more on the totals for the first few patterns than the expression.  With the pattern being pretty simple and all numbers ending in one, most students were able to explain their thoughts.  I plan to now try Thursday's activity again, with the students given blocks to build their own towers and a more scaffolded process.

Thanks for the activity, it was just what I was looking for.

Sean

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