Pattern Hunt

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

One of the things I absolutely love about math is the patterns.  Patterns fascinate me.  I remember asking a small tutoring group what patterns they saw in a hundred chart.  Their response?  None. That broke my heart.  We need to give kiddos lots of  experiences with patterns, and I don’t just mean ABABAB.  Take for example the multiplication chart.  Here’s your little quiz for the day.  The answers are at the bottom, but don’t cheat!  Look at what I’ve highlighted on each of the three multiplication charts below and see if you can determine and describe the pattern.

Chart 1

Chart 2

Chart 3

What did you see?

  1. In Chart 1, I noticed that the numbers mirrored each other on the diagonals.  Look closer.  On diagonals with an even number of squares, they are matched pairs (54, 56, 56, 54).  On diagonals with an odd number of squares, there is one different number in the middle and the others mirror out (63, 64, 63).  But wait!  The single number in the middle of each diagonal alternates between odd and even (1, 4, 9, 16, 25, etc.).
  2. In Chart 2, do you see the equivalent fractions? 🙂
  3. Finally, in Chart 3, the difference between the numbers in the squares is 2 more than the difference in the two squares before it (2 + 4 = 6, 6 + 6 = 12, 12 + 8 = 20).
I’ll bet you saw others that I didn’t see, and I’m sure your kiddos would love finding some of their own.  Click here to grab a free multiplication chart.
Happy pattern hunting!


  1. Mrs. Labrum

    We look at the patterns created with each multiplication fact. Not just the horizontal and vertical line but for the threes color in every 3, 6, 9 etc. each table creates a unique design. Beautiful.

    • Donna Boucher

      Yes! I love that activity, too.

  2. Janaye

    I totally agree with you!! It blows my mind/saddens me to know that my students are unable to see the patterns that I can spot right away! :/

    I actually did that activity with my 4th graders. I gave them charts and they worked in groups to identify patterns. After MUCH scaffolding, they were finally able to come up with some! They were somewhat amazed, but not as excited as I was :). We then recorded our findings onto an anchor chart that stayed on the wall for the remainder of the school year.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

    • Donna Boucher

      Great activity! It’s amazing how hard it is for kids to see the patterns.

  3. Kim

    I love following your blog and learn something every time I check. I was doing multiplication with some gr 3/4s today and doing fractions (equivalent) with gr 5/6’s today and your pattern hunt is perfect. I was working with a student using the 100’s chart to understand multiplication and I printed out and laminated a 100’s chart and multiplication chart back to back so the student could use a dry erase marker to learn with. I wish I would have checked earlier because I would have done your pattern hunt with them and used your multiplication chart. Thanks for sharing! I’m a first year Math Coach and learn something new everyday!

    • Donna Boucher

      Hundred charts are great tools. The pattern hunt is something you can keep in your tool kit for later. 🙂


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