# Pattern Puzzles to Build Algebraic Thinking | DIGITAL Puzzles

*Do your kids see the connection between arithmetic and algebra? Build fluency with operations and problem solving skills with these engaging pattern puzzles for grades 3-5. *

Mathematics is often referred to as the science of patterns. Noticing patterns in numbers, operations and the world around us is what math is all about. So I love finding unique ways to practice looking for patterns with my kids. These **triangle pattern puzzles** introduce the idea of a function or ‘rule’ in a fun and non-threatening way, while challenging kids to **see patterns and practice basic operations**. Once kids determine the ‘rule’ of the puzzle they can solve for the missing number. It’s such a fun and unique challenge, they won’t even realize they’re doing math!

**How the Pattern Puzzles Work:**

Each puzzle shows **three triangles**.

The numbers in the triangle (the top, left and right values) **follow a particular rule** to give the solution in the **middle** of the triangle.

The goal is for students to figure out **what operations they can use to get the middle number**.

For example, in puzzle #1, the numbers in the first triangle are 12, 6, & 3 and the solution in the middle is 9. Using addition & subtraction, we can use the triangle numbers to find the solution: 12 – 6 + 3 = 9.

To test this pattern, we can follow the same rule with the middle triangle to see if the rule holds true. This gives us: 8 – 4 + 2 = 6 (*this is true, so we have a pattern*).

Following this pattern, we can now **find the missing number in the last triangle**: 6 – 3 + 1 = **4**.

To **write a general rule for this pattern**, we can use the letters *T* (for the top number), *L* (for the bottom left number) and *R* (for the bottom right number).

**This makes the rule for this pattern:** *T – L + R*

An **additional example, with directions** is included in the Google Slides resource, helping to clarify the directions for students (especially if you are not completing these together in person).

**Completing the Pattern Puzzles in Google Slides:**

This free download includes **5 different pattern puzzles in a digital format**. By grabbing the Google Slides, you can assign one or more puzzles in Google Classroom or you can display it virtually with your class to discuss as a whole group.

To complete them, there is space on each slide for students to **type a general rule** to represent the pattern they see and **a box to type in the missing number**.

Each of these 5 puzzles can be solved **using only addition & subtraction**.

An** answer key** is also included.

These would make fun **math warm-ups** or **weekly puzzle challenges**. You could also use these as **enrichment** for advanced students or **early finishers**.

**Note:** Although these are meant to be a no-print activity, where students type the rule and missing number onto each slide, * you can print the slides out if you prefer*.

To do this, **make a copy** of the resource in your Google Drive.

Then **delete the text box on each slide** where it says “Type your rule here.”

Then go to** File–>Print** and select your print settings.

**Pattern Puzzles for the Whole Year:**

If you and your students enjoy these math challenges, you may be interested in the **whole set of puzzles**.

The complete set **includes 20 different puzzles** that increase in difficulty.

These incorporate **more math operations** (multiplication & division), a “**create you own puzzle**” challenge and come in **both digital + printer-friendly formats**.

**Learn more about the set of Triangle Pattern Puzzles HERE**

To try out this sample set of triangle pattern puzzles, *use the link below to grab it from my shop*!

**And find more missing number puzzles at the links below:**

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