Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Algebraic Expressions and Equations for Shape Patterns - Section 1: Introduction


Upon further reflection since teaching this lesson and after doing a two-day professional development presented by the Institute for Learning from the University of Pittsburgh - "Supporting Rigorous Mathematics Teaching and Learning" - I feel some changes need to be made.  

In order for students to grapple with the complexity of the task and struggle to make sense of the problem, the table should be removed.  The questions asked should be slightly altered too.

Instead I would just present the given pattern.  The questions that students would be asked to answer would be:

1) How many total pieces would be needed to make a stage 4 missile?

2) Draw the fifth stage.  How many pieces make up this stage?

3) What observations do you see that would help you describe the number of pieces needed to build a higher missile stage?

4) Determine how many pieces would be needed to make a Stage 25 missile without constructing it.

5) Write an equation that can be used to compute the number of pieces of any stage in the missile pattern.  Explain how you know the equation will always work.

I'd suggest giving students a few minutes of independent time before having them work with a partner or group.  

As students are working I will only ask question to assess students understanding of the problem and/or to push them further along.  For example, if I see students struggling with question 1 or 2 I may ask them to explain or show me how they know the number of pieces needed.  For students who breeze through the parts I may ask them an extension question:  "What stage number would have a total of 103 pieces?"


  Too Much Hand Holding - Part 1
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Too Much Hand Holding - Part 1
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Algebraic Expressions and Equations for Shape Patterns

Unit 4: Expressions and Equations
Lesson 16 of 20

Objective: SWBAT write algebraic expressions and equations of shape patterns by exploring relationships in a table

Big Idea: Students describe "what they see" in shape patterns as algebraic expressions and equations.

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6 teachers like this lesson
Math, patterns (linear), writing expressions and equations
  35 minutes
missilepattern complete
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