Sequences Visualiser: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
This is a superb resource to help students relate the nth term form of a sequence to the actual sequence itself. It consists of an Excel file, where the user can adjust the nth term rule and see the sequence magically appear on a 10 x 10 number grid. The advantage of displaying the terms of the sequence in this form, as opposed to simply listing them, is that it is easier to spot patterns and hence form a better understanding of the role each of the variables in the nth term representation of the sequence plays.

How can it be used?
This wonderful resource could be used two ways. Firstly, as a way to introduce nth term rule via pattern-spotting – with the teacher systematically changing the variables in the formula, the students observing the effect on the grid, and then discussing and predicting what role each variable plays. Secondly, it could be used to facilitate a deeper understanding and further investigation into linear sequences. On this latter point, the author provides some excellent suggestions for questions to ask.
Can you tell me a sequence that:
i, only uses multiples of 3
ii, includes as many prime numbers as possible,
iii, only makes numbers appear in columns
iv, makes only 6 numbers appear
v, makes only numbers under 40 appear
vi, shows all the numbers that are 3 less than a multiple of 7…

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton

Download: Linear Sequence Visualiser
View the author’s other resources


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