EL Support Lesson

Talk About Patterns

Analyzing and discussing arithmetic patterns builds a strong number sense in your students! Use this as a stand alone lesson or as a pre-lesson for *Boom, Clap! Patterns in the Multiplication Table.*
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Boom, Clap! Patterns in the Multiplication Table lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Boom, Clap! Patterns in the Multiplication Table lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify and analyze arithmetic patterns found within the multiplication table.


Students will be able to explain arithmetic patterns with key vocabulary using sentence supports.

(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to gather in a common area of the classroom with their whiteboards and whiteboard markers. Write the word pattern on the board.
  • Instruct students to think of a pattern and write it on their whiteboards. Keep the instructions simple, so as not to direct students any further. Assess background knowledge about patterns, noticing whether students draw shapes, words, or numbers.
  • Have students share their patterns with a partner, and call on a few nonvolunteers to share with the whole class.
  • Invite students to think of real-life patterns they have seen before. (e.g., the way bricks are organized on a building, a design that is on socks, the markings on a butterfly)
(8 minutes)
  • Explain that today's lesson will be about looking at number patterns and explaining how you find the missing numbers. While discussing the patterns, it's important to use vocabulary words so that the explanations are clear and make sense.
  • Teach the tiered words by giving students a copy of the Glossary and displaying one on the document camera. Ask a student volunteer to read each word and definition aloud. Discuss the visuals and how they will help students remember the definition of the word. Provide sentence stems to support student conversation. For example, "This image will help me because ____."
  • Mention that students came up with a variety of patterns in the Introduction portion of the lesson. Say, "I notice that some of you came up with number patterns, while others came up with patterns of shapes." Emphasize that number patterns are formed and completed when you identify the relationship between the numbers in the pattern.
  • Display the Multiplication Table and think aloud about some of the patterns seen on the chart. Say, "I notice that when I look on the row that starts with two, all the numbers go up by two each time. I can either add two each time to find the next number, or I can even skip count by twos to continue the pattern. I wonder what numbers I would get if I continued the pattern to the right of the table."
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner about what the next three numbers would be in the twos row on the Multiplication Table. Provide sentence stems to support discussion, such as "The next number would be ____." Call on nonvolunteers to share their answers and explain their thinking.
  • Give each student a blank Vocabulary Cards worksheet and have them cut them up. Instruct them to create a Vocabulary Card for the word pattern and to use the displayed Multiplication Table to come up with an image for the word. Tell them that they can create other vocabulary cards throughout the lesson for strategies that help them complete patterns.
(8 minutes)
  • Display a copy of the Pattern Number Talks Template and write the following pattern in the box at the top: 3, 6, ____, 12, 15, 18, ____, 24
  • Read each of the questions and answer both orally and in a written format to support visual learners. Point out that the sentence stems and frames are there to support students as they share their answers. See the example think aloud for each question below:
    • 1 - What is missing? (9 and 21 are missing.)
    • 2 - How do you know? (I know this because the pattern is counting by threes. The first blank is a nine because it is three more than six. The second blank is 21 because it is three more than 18.)
    • 3 - If you continue the pattern, what would the next three numbers be? (If I continued the pattern, the next three numbers would be 27, 30, and 33.)
    • 4 - Describe the pattern in your own words. (The pattern is counting by threes. Each number is three more than the previous number, and it is three less than the number that follows. I can also skip count by threes to find the missing numbers. So, I can use addition or multiplication to help me with this pattern.)
    • 5 - What is the relationship between the third and fourth numbers in the pattern? (The relationship between the third and fourth number is that the nine is three less than 12, and the 12 is three more than nine. There is a difference of three between them.)
  • Write a new pattern on the board (e.g., 8, 12, 16, ____, 24, 28, ____, 36) and engage the class in discussing the answers to the questions on the Pattern Number Talks Template. Allow this to be a completely oral activity as students get used to the process of analyzing patterns. Encourage them to use the tiered vocabulary words in their answers, when applicable.
  • Discuss the different strategies that can be used to find the missing numbers in a pattern (repeated addition, multiplying, counting on). Ask students to think about which strategy they like the best. Provide a sentence frame to support their sharing, such as "I like the strategy of ____ best because ____."
(8 minutes)
  • Introduce the Number Talk activity that students will do by explaining the following steps:
    • 1 - Independent Think Time: Tell students that they will see a list of numbers displayed on the board and they will be given 1-2 minutes to determine which numbers should fit into the sequence to complete the pattern without paper or talking.
    • 2 - Whole Class Share Time: Explain that this portion of the activity will be when students share their method or strategy they used to determine how to complete the pattern.
    • 3 - Display Ideas: Share that you will create a visual display for each of their methods while they share their strategies, but that they also have the option to create their own visual displays to show.
    • 4 - Questions: Explain that you will ask questions to get students thinking and talking about the different methods, so this will be a time for discussion.
  • Give each student a copy of the Pattern Number Talks Template and have them copy the following pattern into the box at the top of the worksheet: 15, ____, 25, 30, 35, ____, 45).
  • Facilitate the Number Talk activity with the entire class and if time allows, display another pattern on the board for students to analyze and discuss.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide a word bank of key terms and phrases for students to use in group and class discussions.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Encourage students to answer questions and participate in discussions without referring to the sentence stems or frames for support.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(4 minutes)
  • Display the completed Frayer Model for the word multiple. Explain what each section requires in the Frayer Model and share that this graphic organizer is a tool to help us build our vocabulary.
  • Give each student a copy of the Frayer Model graphic organizer. Have them complete the graphic organizer for the word pattern.
(4 minutes)
  • Write the following three strategies on the board:
    • Addition (adding on)
    • Multiplication (multiplying)
    • Counting (skip counting)
  • Tell students to think about how they can use each of the strategies to complete a pattern with missing numbers. Instruct students to choose one for which to create a Vocabulary Card.
  • Call on students to share their Vocabulary Card, and make sure to have each strategy represented.
  • Remind the class that the ability to analyze and discuss number patterns is an important part of their number sense foundation. Recognizing and understanding patterns help us become stronger mathematicians!

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