Lesson Plan

#WithMathICan Find Patterns in Arithmetic

Help students discover, and master, patterns in basic operations.
August D.
Classroom teacher
Ridgewood Elementary School
Eureka, CA
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My Grades K
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
EdTech Mentor

Students will master the use of patterns in basic operations (addition and subtraction within 10) through a combination of explicit instruction and independent practice. By cultivating the joy of discovering patterns in arithmetic as a class, and recording those discoveries as they are found, a growth mindset is encouraged by highlighting the construction of knowledge as a group.

Grades K - 1
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Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

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Create a presentation featuring addition and subtraction problems that can be easy solved by most, if not all, students. Include problems that feature +/- 0 and +/- 1 to highlight a quickly recognized pattern. As the presentation continues and the class should realize all the problems fall into a few easy-to-solve patterns.

Close with an overview of the upcoming unit, which will focus on discovering, recording, and mastering patterns in addition and subtraction.

Student Instructions

During this presentation I want you to raise your hand (or give a thumbs up, or tell a partner, etc.) when you know the answer to a problem I am showing.

  • How did you solve that problem?
  • Think back to when you started kindergarten/first grade- Did you think you knew how to solve that problem then?
  • Did anyone else see that same thing now that it's been pointed out?

2 Independent Practice

Provide a variety of tech tools for student independent practice to aid in discovering patterns in addition and subtraction. Set aside time each day/week to ask students about any patterns related to the current topic of study they have encountered (see Group Discussion step below).

To encourage the learning to continue at home, be sure to share both your goals for the unit and a list of the independent practice tools with families!

Student Instructions

I have installed several new math apps on our tablets for you to use during centers time. I want you to consider the following while using them:

  • What new patterns in addition and subtraction are you noticing that help you solve problems faster?
  • Does a pattern work every time? If so, how do you know? If not, why?
  • Did anyone find the same pattern? 

3 Group Discussion

Activity: Conversing

During class discussions, record observations and patterns on poster paper, which should remain visible in the classroom between discussions. Remind students that it takes hard work to learn new skills in math (it does for everyone!), but working hard to understand something makes your brain stronger.

Whenever possible, draw parallels to the knowledge gained regarding math operations to other areas of study, highlighting the nature of knowledge building. 

Student Instructions

Now that you have had an opportunity to explore the addition and subtraction apps on your own, let's record our findings.

  • Has anyone found patterns when adding (or subtracting) certain numbers?
  • Were those patterns new to you (or new to others in the classroom)?
  • How did you realize that was a pattern you can use time and again?

4 Closing

Conclude this unit with some fun! Create a Kahoot! quiz based on your target math patterns and host a classroom game show. Even if you're lucky enough to have a one-to-one device classroom, consider creating mixed ability teams to answer questions in small groups to encourage teamwork and peer-based knowledge building.

New to Kahoot! or looking for some inspiration? Check out this public quiz on single digit addition.

Student Instructions

Congratulations class! You have all become better mathematicians thanks to the practice and discussions we have had over past several weeks. Before we play a fun quiz show game to celebrate all you have learned, I have a few questions for you.

  • Do you feel you understand addition and subtraction better now than when we started this unit?
  • Did it take work and time to discover these patterns?
  • Are you proud of the results of our discussions, and should we share them with another class?