Mathematics / Year 6 / Number and Algebra / Patterns and algebra

Curriculum content descriptions

Continue and create sequences involving whole numbers, fractions and decimals. Describe the rule used to create the sequence (ACMNA133)

  • identifying and generalising number patterns
  • investigating additive and multiplicative patterns such as the number of tiles in a geometric pattern, or the number of dots or other shapes in successive repeats of a strip or border pattern looking for patterns in the way the numbers increase/decrease
General capabilities
  • Literacy Literacy
  • Numeracy Numeracy
  • Critical and creative thinking Critical and creative thinking
ScOT terms

Sequences (Number patterns),  Mathematical expressions


Circus towers: square stacks

Work out how many acrobats are needed to form square-shaped human towers. Start by building a square tower with four acrobats: two acrobats in the base layer and two acrobats standing on their shoulders. Examine a table and graph of the total number of acrobats in the towers. Predict the number of acrobats needed to build ...


When I post something online how permanent is it?

Students engage in a photo rip up activity to emphasize the permanency of online information, they explore factor trees, doubling and line graphs through the lens of sharing information, and they collaboratively develop a set of protocols around sharing information online.


Use rules and algorithms: Year 6 – planning tool

This planning resource for Year 6 is for the topic of Use rules and algorithms. Students generate and investigate patterns using concrete materials, geometric shapes, calculators and spreadsheets. Some examples are growing patterns using dots, cubes or sticks; systematically exploring dividing by 9 or multiplying by 11 ...


Creating my own spreadsheet to convert binary to decimal

A spreadsheet can be used to do calculations quickly using formulas. How can we make a spreadsheet that converts a binary number to a decimal number? This lesson provides some guidance and Excel files for student and teacher use.


Patterns & Algebra Year 6 - Frogs Lesson - Calculate

This activity is designed to encourage students to engage with a problem, before they overthink it. Too often in class we begin with what is familiar to students and gradually increase the challenge. This problem begins with a challenge and encourages students to work backwards to solve a simpler problem, before applying ...


Inquiry Prompt Ribbon Bow - Calculate

This open-ended task challenges students to carry out a mathematical investigation using a ribbon-bow as a stimulus. They are encouraged to develop their own research questions and investigate possible solutions using using mathematical problem solving and modelling strategies.


The Geometry and Algebra of Honeycomb - Calculate

This integrated unit of work explores the amazing structures of honeycomb by examining the properties of regular and irregular polygons and polyhedra. Students then move on to solve problems using geometric and algebraic reasoning.


Representing Patterns - Calculate

In this activity, students examine the representation of patterns, including as diagrams, charts and formulas.


Fractions Year 6 - Calculate

This activity challenges students to unpack a rule and see if it is being used correctly. Often students will just learn a rule and blindly use it. This task asks students to stop and think and then make corrections to ensure the rule works in all cases (generalise).


Adaptive Speciation of Honeybees - Calculate

Using the example of the humble honey bee, this integrated Science and Mathematics unit illustrates the way in which speciation occurs in nature and explains how living things adapt to survive in their environment. In doing so, the unit describes the nature of simple multiplicative number sequences and how simple algebraic ...


Pattern & Algebra Year 6 - Calculate

The focus of this activity to challenge students to unpack a rule and see if it is being used correctly. Often students will just learn a rule and blindly use it. This task gets students to stop and think and then make corrections to ensure the rule works in all cases (generalise).


Spiral away with Fibonacci

Do you know the Fibonacci sequence? Learn how to draw a cool spiral as Vi Hart shows you an easy way. See how a spiral is an example of Fibonacci numbers. Vi shows examples of spirals from nature. You might be surprised at some of her examples! This is the first in a series.


Catalyst: Take the Phi Golden challenge

The golden ratio, Phi: fact or fallacy? What about the Fibonacci sequence? We are told this ratio and its cousin Fibonacci occur everywhere in nature. Let's see which of these claims stacks up when put to the test.


Patterns, primes and Pascal's Triangle

Are you intrigued by patterns? Check out Vi Hart as she explains how to visualise patterns in prime numbers, using Ulam's Spiral. Watch as Vi creates patterns, using Pascal's Triangle to explore relationships in number. See what happens when she circles the odd numbers. What rule does she use to create the final pattern?


MathXplosion, Ep 25: Mobius strip twist

Can you make a set of linking rings from one strip of paper? You could if you made a small change to a mobius strip! A mobius strip is a piece of paper with one surface and a half-twist. Take a regular mobius strip and divide it into thirds. As you cut the twisty strip lengthwise into three pieces, something magic happens: ...


Algebra: Foundation to Year 9

This comprehensive resource describes the progression of algebra-related ideas and algebraic thinking. The resource demonstrates examples of relevant teaching strategies, investigations, activity plans and connected concepts in algebra including teaching and cultural implications.


Sites2See: Patterns and Algebra

Selected links to a range of interactive online resources for the study of patterns and algebra in Foundation to Year 6 Mathematics.


What are pixels?

Meet Kevin Systrom and Piper Hanson as they explain how digital images work. What are pixels, those tiny dots of light, made from? How are colours created and represented? What does Kevin say about the way mathematical functions are used to create different image filters. What is the difference between image resolution ...


Playground percentages

Help a town planner to design two site plans for a school. Assign regions on a 10x10 grid for different uses such as a playground, canteen, car park or lawn. Calculate the percentage of the total site used for each region. Use a number line to display fractions and equivalent fractions.


The divider: with or without remainders

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