Learning about Patterns and Functions

Learning about Patterns and Functions

Patterns are all around us, especially in math and science. This week’s activities explore finding patterns, figuring out how the patterns work, and teaching kids of all ages the basics of functions. Functions are important to understand the world around us at every age and in every field, but learning how to understand the patterns at the core of functions is accessible for all ages.

Online Videos: Use these links to educate and entertain!


Pattern Games and I/O Machines: Below is a collection of games to play that help teach pattern recognition. After that, the basic steps of how a function works are covered with the “Input/Output” machine game. These are fun for all ages!

Pentominoes: Pentominoes are a set of shapes that can be rearranged like a puzzle with dozens of solutions. This low-cost, high-fun activity is great for entertaining while learning and for helping young students expand their ability to visually process and imagine solutions.

Functions and the Road Coloring Problem: This activity is adapted from the Algebra Project’s Road Coloring Curriculum that introduces middle and high school kids to the concept of “function.” This research-based experiential math curriculum, developed by SIUE’s Dr. Greg Budzban, leads students through a long researched problem in mathematics to develop their understanding of what functions are and how they work.

For additional resources, check out our STEM @ Home page!

Feature Image by Mithul Varshan from Pexels