A nice visual pattern from Fawn Nguyen and Bryan Anderson

Saw Fawn Nguyen tweet out a neat visual pattern today and thought it would make a great activity with the kids tonight:

Unfortunately our snap cubes are packed up since we are in the process of moving to a new house, so rather than playing with the pattern ourselves we just looked at it on Bryan Anderson’s blog. As luck would have it, the boys each saw a different pattern:

With the kids having described the patterns that they saw on the screen, we moved to the kitchen table to play with the chart that Bryan Anderson wanted his students to fill in when they did this project. Had the kids not seen different patterns, I’m not sure I would have realized why part of the chart was blank. My younger son’s pattern was easy to fill in, and the discussion about powers of 3 in my older son’s patter was really interesting.

Next we went to see if we could figure out how to make a shape for step 4. This part was a little tricky because the boys were initially fixated on making a 4 dimensional object. Eventually we were able to sort of stumble on the patterns that are at the bottom of Anderson’s blog. At the end of this video the kids realize that there could have also been a step 0 – yes!

Also, it was a really cool moment when my younger son realized that you just need three copies of what we have at one step to go to the next step.

We began this last section by talking about step 0. From there, we built up (or at least talked about building up) all of the next steps just by making three copies of our current shape each time.

So, turns out that Fawn was right again – this was a great pattern to talk through with the kids. Really fun to see how powers and dimensions are connected, and it was obviously a nice bit of luck that the boys saw different patterns.

We should return to Fawn’s Visual Patterns site a lot more often than we do.