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NSW Department of Education and Communities

Curriculum support for NSW Public Schools

Teaching patterns and algebra

To gain an understanding of algebra, students must be introduced to the concepts of patterns, relationships, variables, expressions, unknowns, equations and graphs in a wide variety of contexts. These activities support a concrete approach to teaching patterns and algebra from Stage 3 onwards.

Stage 3

Pdf icon  Building patterns 1 (pdf - 54kb)
In this activity students make a geometric pattern involving one operation using matchsticks or counters, extend the pattern by three terms and write a number sentence to describe the pattern. Syllabus reference PAS3.1a.

Pdf icon  Building patterns 2 (pdf - 79kb)
This activity requires students to construct a series of buildings using square tiles, extend the series by one term and record the information in a table. Syllabus reference PAS3.1a.

Pdf icon  Building patterns 3 (pdf - 73kb)
Building a sequence of squares with different side lengths using matchsticks is the task in this activity. Students  complete the next two terms in the pattern, record their findings in a table and predict the perimeter of a square with sides of six matchsticks or more. Syllabus reference PAS3.1a.

Pdf icon  Guess my rule (pdf - 305kb)
To play guess my rule one student thinks of a rule about numbers and the other students take turns to guess the rule. A role play script to teach students how to play is included. Syllabus reference PAS3.1a.

Stage 4

Pdf icon  Algebraic techniques overview (pdf - 127kb)
An overview of a unit of work on algebraic techniques that may be used with students throughout the unit to connect ideas and lessons. Syllabus reference PAS4.1.

Pdf icon  What do I already know about algebraic techniques? (pdf - 74kb)
An assessment for learning activity that allows students to show what they know at the start of the unit of work on algebraic techniques. Syllabus reference PAS4.1.

Pdf icon  Building shapes lesson (pdf - 34kb)
A concrete approach to teaching algebra where students work in pairs to build different shapes to represent a variable. This lesson overview introduces the symbol system and should precede PAS4.2 Number patterns. Syllabus reference PAS4.1.

Pdf icon  Building shapes worksheet (pdf - 34kb)
Students use this worksheet in the Building shapes lesson. Syllabus reference PAS4.1.

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