I had assumed that the students would know what I meant when I said, "Make a number pattern."
Or maybe I was the problem - maybe my definition was too narrow and my expectations were based on my own previous experience and knowledge.
Anyway, here is what they produced:
So - we have a pattern of numbers being repeated. There were lots that looked like this. We could substitute the numbers for a colour or a shape and we would be back to where we were with our Unifix and Cuisinaire patterns.
Yes - it is a pattern.
No - it is not what I was expecting.
But wait, there's more...
Ok - so I can see counting by 2, 3 and 10. This is what I had anticipated. Obviously these students will win at the game of "Guess what the teacher is thinking".
And some more sophisticated variations on these patterns:
Counting by 7s
Counting by 10 but off the decade
As I circulated and chatted, I came across one student who was mucking around with some rulers. Fortunately, I refrained from intervening - I was about to tell him to put them away.
He had made a simple 0-9 grid:
As I was about to move on, he laid down the rulers:
"Look at that!" he said. "There is a pattern that goes 2, 7, 2, 7 down the middle ruler. And the diagonal rulers are all the even numbers."
Very true - a nice observation.
Note to self: Do not interrupt. Give the students space to play and experiment. They will observe things that will surprise you.