This unit in the CUNY HSE Math Curriculum Framework offers two lessons for presenting algebra through the use of visual patterns.
- LESSON I: Introduction to Visual Patterns & A Scaffolded Approach to the Arch Problem This lesson plan begins with some activities to introduce patterns in general. It then models a scaffolded approach to visual patterns with a selection of questions to build towards the development of linear equation(s) that describe the relationship between the number of squares and the figure number. The lesson makes explicit how each question can be used to develop specific algebraic content and reasoning. This lesson is meant to serve as an introduction for students that can be repeated using different visual patterns.
- LESSON II: An Open-Ended Exploration of Pattern #141 This lesson plan models an open approach to using visual patterns. As with the arch problem, the activity and questions can be used with almost any visual pattern. Using the open-ended activity described here will not only help students develop their algebraic thinking, but it will give them opportunities to revise and improve their precision in mathematical communication. Since students are creating their own problems and choosing which ones to work on, this activity works especially well with a mixed-level class. Everyone is working from the same visual patterns, but at their own pace.