I told them that the images represent the first three steps in a pattern then asked if they could find the number of squares in the forty third step. I also asked if they could they find a rule or equation to represent the number of squares in any step (the n

^{th}step). Normally I ask for an equation and I think that is often intimidating at first. This time I focused on the rule, which we could then be turned into an equation. They worked at the problem in groups at board. They did a great job. We spent a bit of time talking about what makes an equation.

Then we moved on to Cup Stacking. I held up a styrofoam cup and asked what they noticed and what they wondered. There were some great observations but they were fairly quiet when I asked what they wondered. So I posed the question "How many cups would be needed to make a stack to my height?". This led to a discussion about how the cups were going to be stacked. Normally when I do this activity I tell the class that I want the cups stacked inside of one another. The class really wanted to stack the cups one on top of the other as shown below, so we started there. I figured we could do it both ways and discuss direct vs. partial variations.

Most groups came up with a solution pretty quickly. Once they finished I asked if they could come up with an equation that related the number of cups to the height of the stack. I had a few blank looks and reminded them of the visual pattern we did at the beginning of the class. That was enough to get them going.

We had a bit time left so they created graphs showing the height of a stack of cups vs. the number of cups. Tomorrow we'll see how stacking the cups inside one another compares.

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