Solving Word Problems with Patterns

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Mathematics, Problem Solving

Grade 3- 5


Students learn how to solve word problems by recognizing patterns. They learn to create tables to help them visualize the problem.


Facts to Know
Tell students that some problems can be solved by recognizing a pattern. Making a table can help them.
Sample A
David arranged loaves of bread on 6 shelves in the bakery. He put 1 loaf on the top shelf, 3 loaves on the second shelf, and 5 loaves on the third shelf. If he continues this pattern, how many loaves will he put on the 6th shelf?
If you make a table, you'll see a pattern.

Notice there are 2 more loaves on each shelf. If you complete the pattern, you'll know how many loaves are on the 6th shelf. (11 loaves)
Sample B
Monday through Thursday, Teresa exercises for 30 minutes after coming home from work. On the weekends, she goes swimming for 1 hour on Saturday. Teresa does not exercise on Friday and Sunday. At the end of 2 weeks, how much time will she have spent
If you make a table or chart, you'll see the pattern and be able to calculate how much time Teresa will have exercised in 2 weeks. (6 hours)

Distribute the activity sheets to students.


  • activity sheets (3 per student)
  • pencils

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