Lesson 8 — Activity 3: Describing Patterns

Getting Ready

Once you know how to recognize a pattern and are able to create a formula to show the pattern, it is helpful to be able to describe the pattern in words. This will not only help you, but it will also help others who might need to use the pattern to do a job.

Patterns don't just have letters at the tops of columns, they can have titles that can describe actions, such as the number of litres of gas in 10 cars or the number of carrots eaten. It allows you to use patterns in everyday life to solve problems.

For example, if Donna was given the formula y = 4x, where y was the number of table legs and x was the number of tables, she could make a chart like this:

Next, you could describe this by saying, "for every table added, the number of table legs increases by four."

This allows the person making the tables to have the proper number of parts.

Let's try another one! Take a look at the table below.

How could we describe this pattern? First of all, what is happening in the pattern? As you can see from the table, for each package that we buy (the top row), the number of waters (the bottom row) is multiplied by 4 as follows:

1 x 4 = 4

2 x 4 = 8

3 x 4 = 12

4 x 4 = 16

and so on.

Therefore, we could describe this pattern as follows: "for each package bought, the number of bottles of water increases by four."

Now it is easy to find out how many waters there are in 8 packages. The formula would be:

8 x 4 = 32 — therefore, if you bought 8 packages, you would have 32 bottles of water!

Now you try it!

Gina is a chicken farmer. She gets 3 dozen eggs every day from her chickens. How many dozen eggs will she have after one week?

Fill in the chart to find the answer, and then write a sentence to explain the answer. Include the pattern in your answer.

Because Gina gets 3 dozen eggs each day, she will have 21 dozen eggs at the end of the week. The pattern is an increase of 3 cartons each day. You add 3 more dozen to the total from the day before!

Courtesy of Getty


Try this!

Look at the pattern below. Describe the pattern, and then draw the next figure.

For every shape, you add on one more

dot than you added on in the last shape.

1 + 2 = 3

3 + 3 = 6

6 + 4 = 10

Digging Deeper

Click on the Play button below to watch a video on describing patterns.

Images courtesy of ADLC