Tes Maths ROTW: Sequences visualiser

Help students to spot patterns while deepening their conceptual understanding of sequences with this easy-to-use spreadsheet, recommended by Tes Maths

What is it?

I’m a little bit obsessed with sequences, but they can often leave pupils feeling puzzled. Fortunately, this handy visualiser allows learners to spot patterns between the nth term form of a sequence and the sequence itself.

Using a clever spreadsheet, students simply adjust the nth term rule to see the sequence highlighted on a 10x10 number grid. They then use the resulting pattern to help them identify the impact of each variable.

How can it be used?

This versatile resource works well as an introduction to the nth term rule through pattern spotting. As you change the variables, allow students to observe the effect on the grid. Together, discuss the role that each variable plays, before getting them to make predictions for the next formula.

Alternatively, why not use the tool to facilitate a deeper understanding through investigation? The author suggests prompting pupils to find sequences that:

• only use multiples of 3
• include as many prime numbers as possible
• only make numbers appear in columns
• only make 6 numbers appear
• only make numbers under 40 appear
• show all the numbers that are 3 less than a multiple of 7

Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.

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