What is this sequence about?
This learning sequence encourages students to develop their understanding of patterns and algebra. Pattern recognition supports the development of computational thinking. This sequence provides opportunities for students to build their algebraic thinking by analysing patterns and exploring generalisations and relationships.
There is a strong focus within this sequence on supporting students to develop the four mathematical proficiencies set out in the curriculum: understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning, as well as their capacity for critical and creative thinking.
Big understandings Patterns are a predictable arrangement of elements (generalisations) which can be either repeating or growing in nature. The equals sign in mathematics represents a balance between the values, equations or expressions written on either side of it. Symbols (pronumerals) can be used to represent unknowns in algebraic equations. These equations can be manipulated to find the unknown. 
The sequence has been written by teachers for teachers. It has been designed to provide students with rich, engaging learning experiences that address the Victorian Curriculum. The sequence consists of five flexible stages, including suggested learning intentions.
Overview of stages
1. Functions and Relations
Suggested Learning Intentions
 To understand that functions describe the relationships between numbers
 To understand that a relation is a set of inputs and outputs
 To understand that a function is a relation with one output for each input
3. Equivalence
Suggested Learning Intentions
 To understand that expressions on either side of an equal sign must be balanced
 To explain that when a function on one side of an equation is performed an equal function must be performed on the other side to maintain balance
2. Exploring Patterns
Suggested Learning Intentions
 To understand that a pattern is a predictable arrangement of elements
 To understand that patterns are determined by the application of different functions
 To understand the difference between repeated and growing patterns
4. Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns
Suggested Learning Intentions
 To understand that symbols (pronumerals) can be used to represent a variable or an unknown quantity in an equation
 To understand that symbols can be used to represent an unknown in a pattern or a generalisation
 To understand that these equations can be manipulated to determine the unknown quantity
Prior knowledge
Before you commence this sequence, it is recommended that students are familiar with creating simple repeating patterns and that they can describe the difference between two numbers.
The following activity supports students to develop their ability to sequence patterns. This activity is interactive.
You can find support for building students' understanding of patternrelated concepts in the Mathematics Curriculum Companion. The Teaching Context and Teaching Ideas related to content descriptions VCMNA112, VCMNA138, VCMNA139, and VCMNA163 may be particularly useful.
Students who require support with skip counting may benefit from additional practice. This Number Patterns Game provides students with the opportunity for multiple exposures in a fun environment.
Teaching strategies
The Mathematics Curriculum Companion provides teachers with content knowledge, suggested teaching, and learning ideas as well as links to other resources. Resources are organised by Mathematics strands and substrands and incorporate the proficiencies: Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning. The Companion is an additional resource that you could refer to when you are planning how you might use the sequence in your school.
The sequence highlights opportunities to apply the High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS), which are a component of the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model.
Vocabulary
Students should be able to understand and use the following concepts and terms by the end of the learning sequence:
Pattern  Expression 
Repeating  Pronumeral 
Growing  Factors 
Unknown  Multiples 
Table of data  Rule 
Inverse operations  Symbol 
Equivalence  Algorithm 
Generalise  Function 
Equation 
You can find definitions of some of these terms in the F10 Victorian Curriculum Mathematics Glossary.
The Literacy in Mathematics section of the Literacy Teaching Toolkit provides several teaching strategies with worked examples demonstrating how teachers can use literacy to support student understanding of mathematical language. A further set of strategies demonstrate how teachers can develop students' literacy skills to support their mathematical problem solving.
Assessment
Opportunities for formative and summative assessment are identified at different stages of the learning sequence. Look for the 'Assessment Opportunity' icon.
You may want to develop a rubric to assess students’ progress. A range of Formative Assessment resources are available from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. This includes a Guide to Formative Assessment Rubrics, a series of modules to support you to develop your own formative assessment rubrics, and sample rubrics across six curriculum areas that demonstrate how you can put formative assessment rubrics into practice in the classroom.
In developing a rubric, you may wish to coconstruct assessment criteria with your students. Each stage of the sequence provides sample success criteria for students working at Level 5.
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has published annotated work samples that provide teachers with examples of student learning achievement at multiple levels for each strand of the Mathematics curriculum.
Victorian Curriculum connections
Level 4
This sequence addresses content from the Victorian Curriculum in Mathematics, Number and Algebra, Patterns and Algebra. It is primarily designed for Level 5, but also addresses the following content descriptions from Level 4:
Content description 
Stage 
Mathematics 

Define a simple class of problems and solve them using an effective algorithm that involves a short sequence of steps and decisions (VCMNA164) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns Equivalence 
Use equivalent number sentences involving addition and subtraction to find unknown quantities (VCMNA163) 
Functions and Relations Equivalence 
Solve word problems by using number sentences involving multiplication or division where there is no remainder (VCMNA162) 
Functions and Relations Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
Explore and describe number patterns resulting from performing multiplication (VCMNA161) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns 
Investigate number sequences involving multiples of 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (VCMNA154) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns 
Develop efficient mental and written strategies and use appropriate digital technologies for multiplication and for division where there is no remainder (VCMNA156) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
Critical & Creative Thinking 

Consider concrete and pictorial models to facilitate thinking, including a range of visualisation strategies (VCCCTM018) 
Exploring Patterns Equivalence Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
The sequence can be used to assess student achievement in relation to the following Achievement Standards from the Victorian Curriculum in Mathematics Level 4:
 Students identify unknown quantities in number sentences
 Students use the properties of odd and even numbers and describe number patterns resulting from multiplication
 Students continue number sequences involving multiples of singledigit numbers and unit fractions and locate them on a number line
 They choose appropriate strategies for calculations involving multiplication and division, with and without the use of digital technology.
Level 5
This sequence addresses content from the Victorian Curriculum in Mathematics, Number and Algebra, Patterns and Algebra. It is primarily designed for Level 5 and addresses the following content descriptions:
Content description 
Stage 
Mathematics 

Use equivalent number sentences involving multiplication and division to find unknown quantities. (VCMNA193) 
Functions and Relations Equivalence Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
Describe, continue, and create pattern with fractions, decimals and whole numbers resulting from addition and subtraction. (VCMNA192) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns 
Follow a mathematical algorithm involving branching and repetition (iteration) (VCMNA194) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns 
Identify and describe factors and multiples of whole numbers and use them to solve problems (VCMNA181) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns 
Solve problems involving multiplication of large numbers by one or twodigit numbers using efficient mental, written strategies and appropriate digital technologies (VCMNA183) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns 
Critical & Creative Thinking 

Identify and form links and patterns from multiple information sources to generate nonroutine ideas and possibilities (VCCCTQ023) 
Exploring Patterns 
Investigate thinking processes using visual models and language strategies (VCCCTM029) 
Exploring Patterns Equivalence Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
The sequence can be used to assess student achievement in relation to the following Achievement Standards from the Victorian Curriculum in Mathematics Level 5:
 Students find unknown quantities in number sentences and continue patterns by adding or subtracting fractions and decimals
 Students identify and describe factors and multiples.
Level 6
This sequence addresses content from the Victorian Curriculum in Mathematics, Number and Algebra, Patterns and Algebra. It is primarily designed for Level 5, but also addresses the following content descriptions from Level 6:
Content description 
Stage 
Mathematics 

Select and apply efficient mental and written strategies and appropriate digital technologies to solve problems involving all four operations with whole numbers and make estimates for these computations (VCMNA209) 
Functions and Relations Equivalence Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
Continue and create sequences involving whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Describe the rule used to create the sequence (VCMNA219) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
Explore the use of brackets and order of operations to write number sentences (VCMNA220) 
Functions and Relations Equivalence 
Design algorithms involving branching and iteration to solve specific classes of mathematical problems (VCMNA221) 
Functions and Relations Exploring Patterns Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
Critical & Creative Thinking 

Identify and form links and patterns from multiple information sources to generate nonroutine ideas and possibilities (VCCCTQ023) 
Exploring Patterns 
Investigate thinking processes using visual models and language strategies (VCCCTM029) 
Exploring Patterns Equivalence Using Symbols to Recognise Unknowns 
The sequence can be used to assess student achievement in relation to the following Achievement Standards from the Victorian Curriculum in Mathematics Level 6:
 Students solve problems that involve all four operations with whole numbers and describe the use of integers in everyday contexts
 Students specify rules used to generate sequences involving whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
 Students write number sentences using brackets and order of operations.
Learning Progressions
The Numeracy Learning Progressions support teachers to develop a comprehensive view of how numeracy develops over time. You can use the Numeracy Learning Progressions to:
 identify the numeracy capability of your students
 plan targeted teaching strategies, especially for students achieving above or below the ageequivalent expected level in the Victorian Curriculum: Mathematics
 provide targeted feedback to students about their learning within and across the progressions.
The sequence is related to the following progressions:
Learning Progression 
Level 4 
Level 5 
Level 6 
Generalising Patterns 
Generalising patterns 
Representing Unknowns 
Click on the Learning Progression to access more detailed descriptions of student learning at each level.