Early Algebra

I’ve been in a number of junior classrooms lately looking at how we use pattern rules for growing patterns. Visual representations can significantly help with this, and the transition to an algebraic representation.

There’s usually a disconnect between how we use pattern rules in late primary / early junior, and the transition to algebraic representations later on.

Consider this number sequence:    5, 7, 9, …

In grade 3 we tend to accept “Start with 5 and add 2 each time”

But the algebraic representation is 3 + 2n

The difference is that algebraically, we add something to each stage including the first stage.

I’ve always thought about the idea that we seem to change the idea of the pattern rule over the grades without being explicit about it to the students.  So should we just start with the pattern rule that correlates to the algebraic representation?  In words, should it be something more like “Start at 1, and add 2 to every term (including the first one)”?

This is easier for students to see pictorially or with manipulatives.




In words

Start with 3 and add 2 each time




3 + 2n

Number Sequence

5, 7, 9, …

To test this out I visited a grade 4 class who had been exploring growing patterns (but not visually).

When asked to draw their own pattern for Start with 1 and add 2 each time, most drew pattern similar to alg2
But a couple drew alg1

Over the course of a 20 minute discussion and students defending their point of view, the entire class decided the second representation actually depicted the given pattern rule better.



iPads go to Grade 6

To make sure we have the time to get iPads to the Grade 7s as quickly as possible in September, we have started to hand them to the current Grade 6 students.

We have delivered iPads to happy Grade 6s throughout the Board, so in September we can get an iPad in the hands of the rest of the Grade 7s in the first week of school.

Spirit of Canada

In the Spirit of Canada, students and teachers from SHDHS and GDCI joined together to learn and grow.

Through the Spirit of Canada program, facilitated by Me to We, we developed a deeper understanding of the history and status of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in Canada. In doing this, we addressed and challenged the stereotypes and discrimination that can hold Canadians back from a true understanding of one another. With the valuable input of our teachers and students; some who were of First Nations background and some who weren’t, we found that the common goal of ending discrimination against First Nations, Metis and Inuit people can lead to ally-ship and a deeper understandings for all of us.

Mrs. Skelding from GDCI blogged about our experience: