Introduction to algebra for younger primary students


Objective: Students use attribute blocks to recognize, describe, and extend repeating and growing patterns.

Materials: attribute blocks

Manipulative Activity:

  1. Place number cards 1 - 10 on the floor.
  2. Begin a pattern under the numbers.
  3. Select a number.
  4. Ask a student what shape comes under the number.
  5. Use other attributes such as colour and size.
  6. Students follow the same procedure in pairs.

Technology Activity: Students will use the applet, Attribute Blocks, from the National Library of Virtual Mathematics Manipulatives. Depending on the availability of computers for your students, this activity could be done individually, with partners, in groups, or as a class.

Have students go to Pretty Patterns

Pick your favourite colour and make a pattern using all of the shapes that have that colour.

Can you use all of the colours and all of the shapes to make a pattern?

Paper/Pencil Activity: Depending on the level of your students, you can have them complete this activity individually or with assistance. Here are some possibilities:

  • Pass out paper with two rows of ten boxes.
  • Students make a pattern using the first 10 boxes.
  • Exchange papers with a partner to repeat the pattern.

Literature Connections:

Sundae Scoop
by Stuart J. Murphy (Author), Cynthia Jabar (Illustrator), (HarperTrophy; 1st edition, December 24, 2002)