Archives for December 2014

Always looking for variations on a theme . . . sequences

I am so bad at this blogging thing. Sigh. A combination of being lazy and thinking that my thoughts are actually pretty boring and not worth writing down, polishing or reading.

Anyway, part of what does take up my ‘productive’ time is maths tutoring. I am always on the lookout for clever variations of some basic topics. Sometimes I find alternative approaches in the oddest way. For example, recently I thought: I’ll see if I can find some Christmas-themed problems for my tutorees. Just for fun and also because most kids can get bored pretty easily with the same old thing they’ve been working on. Anyway, I found this:


It’s a sequence identification exercise. The sequences aren’t too complicated so I can use it with lots of different age groups but what’s really clever is the actual problem you have to solve: you have to find the mistake in the represented sequence elements. Brilliant. You still have to discover the pattern but by adding the extra ‘find the mistake’ step it becomes much more of a treasure-hunt puzzle.

Some kids really do like mathematics. Most don’t. But a vast majority of children like a puzzle that they can understand quickly even if the solution takes some time to figure out.