Introducing Number Patterns

The more that children can understand how numbers relate to each other, the more confident they will become. Here we begin to look at the most simple of number patterns - 1 more and 1 less - and introduce the vocabulary of number patterns, ready for building on in future lessons.

Preparatory Work

  • Have a look at our Pattern Worksheets which provide practice in "what comes next" using pictures. These introduce the concept of patterns without using numbers. We've provided "tiles" which can be cut out and used to fill in the worksheets too. Your child could use these tiles to make up their own patterns.
  • Grab coloured counters, buttons, bricks other manipulatives and encourage your child to make up some of their own patterns. You could build a tower with alternating colours of individual bricks, for example.

Hands On Practice with Number Patterns

  • Make visual patterns.
    • Use buttons or counters on ten frames or ten towers to show how increasing or decreasing numbers form a pattern. Start with smaller numbers - up to 10 - and build up.
    • Talk about how each ten frame has "1 more" counter than the last.
    • Show how 11 and 1 more makes 12, 12 and 1 more makes 13, 13 and 1 more makes 14 and so on.
    • Explain that this - 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 - is a number pattern.
    • Can your child continue the number pattern? What comes next?
    • Think about how you would describe the number pattern. Can your child describe it? In that particular number pattern, each number is 1 more than the number before.
    • Try the same activity with "1 less".
    • For the same activity with bigger numbers, our Numbers to 20 Towers are useful.

Number patterns using our 20 towers

  • Just numbers. Using magnetic or wooden numbers or simple number cards up to 20, make a simple number pattern (using 1 more or 1 less) and ask your child to continue it.
  • Play Snap Challenge. At random times during the day, call out something along these lines:
    • "Snap Challenge! I'm starting a number pattern. Can you continue it? It goes like this: 11, 10, 9 ..."
    • "Snap Challenge! Here's a number pattern. Can you describe it? 16, 17, 18 ... ?"
  • Worksheets. Have a go at some of the worksheets below.

Extension Activities

  • Some children will grasp number patterns quickly and will begin to look for their own. Give them ten frames, ten towers and plenty of counters and see what they come up with, asking them to explain the logic of their number patterns.
  • Introduce the concept of "2 more" or "2 less".
  • Ask questions like "What is 2 more than 11? And 2 more than that? And 2 more than that?" and so on.
  • Using a ten frame and coloured counters, alternate the colours on each row and show your child how you can count in 2's - 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.
  • Try using a set of our numbered ten frames with counters. Show your child that, by covering squares with counters, you can also see a pattern with the numbers that are not covered. Two patterns for the price of one!

Our Resources

Number Pattern Worksheets Set 1

Number Pattern Worksheets Set 1

This set of 2 simple worksheets (available in UK or US versions) presents some simple "1 more" or "1 less" number patterns for the children to identify. Start with these to build confidence.

Number Pattern Worksheets Set 2

Number Pattern Worksheets Set 2

Here are 2 more simple worksheets concentrating on "1 more" and "1 less" number patterns, inviting the children to have a go at a number of different challenges to practise their skills.

Number Pattern Worksheets Set 3

Number Pattern Worksheets Set 3

Our third set of number pattern worksheets challenges children slightly more by extending the patterns to "2 more" and "2 less" and "3 more" and "3 less". We ask children to complete the patterns and then write a describing sentence.

Number Patterns Worksheets Set 4

Number Patterns Worksheets Set 4

This set of 4 worksheets - or "challenges" - asks the kids to cut out the number tiles and then glue them into place to form 2 patterns.

Numbers to 20 Frames

Numbers to 20 Frames

Print out these frames, laminate them if you wish, and use them with counters or other small objects for learning to count on from 10, addition within 20, subtraction within 20 etc.

Numbers to 20 Towers

Numbers to 20 Towers

Each of this printable provides two useful double-sets of ten towers, perfect for learning to count on from 10 to 20, addition within 20 and so on. They come in a variety of colours and we've included 3 sets of 20 counters too.

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