Algebraic Trends & Patterns
This is a whole-class activity that uses an Excel spreadsheet (‘Glimpses’) to display a series of patterns of dots for a short period of time (a glimpse). You can use the glimpse to encourage pupils to work out the number of dots by memorising and reflecting on the pattern.

The Glimpses resources include:
  • A series of ready-made dot patterns (or ‘glimpses’)
  • A tool for creating your own glimpses
  • Lesson ideas
  • Lesson notes for using the spreadsheet
  • A short video clip of a teacher using Glimpses as a lesson starter.
Objectives covered:
  • Recognising and interpreting number patterns
  • Making conjectures and developing strategies
The spreadsheet is an interesting way of introducing some algebraic thinking around patterns. Because each pattern of dots is only displayed for a short time pupils are encouraged to seek out patterns in the arrangement of dots as an alternative strategy to simply counting them. The activity provides opportunities for whole class teaching, peer discussion and developing strategies for problem solving

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