Aims and objectives
The aim of this activity is to allow pupils to create their own
matchstick shapes, patterns and sequences then write about them
in mathematical terms. The patterns and sequences can be created
by either number progressions or geometric shapes.
Previous knowledge
As this is an ‘exploratory’ activity students can approach
it at whatever level they feel comfortable with. The supporting
worksheets provide teacher guidance on a range of possible tasks
for students at all levels of ability.
In the classroom
The activity is based on a series of computer generated questions
where students are asked to either complete or extend a sequence
of geometric patterns then find the rule to describe the sequence.
Each question is accompanied by a worksheet to support the activity.
Students can also use this activity to create their own series
of patterns or sequences and work out the relationship between each
pattern/sequence. They can also use the endless pile of matchsticks
to create their own shapes e.g. they could try making a hexagon
and then adding another hexagon to it. When they have made their
shape they can print the worksheet and copy the pattern onto it.
The activity may be linked to a problem that you have set. For
example, give the pupils two members of a series on the whiteboard
then ask them to create the third and fourth members on the screen.
They then have to explain the rule (in words). Alternatively the
teacher can state a relationship and then ask the pupils to create
the pattern using the matchsticks.
Although students are likely to be working independently or in
small groups using this activity, if an interactive whiteboard is
available then it becomes a really effective way for a teacher to
demonstrate or model the activities. This work is linked to the
following learning outcomes:
· Generate terms of a sequence given a rule.
· Generate sequences from practical contexts and describe
them in words.
· Describe the general term of a sequence in words
Curriculum references
Mathematics – KS3:
Ma2 1i, j; 6ac
Ma3 1c, f, j
