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Sarah Huber

Individually-Paced Math Sequence Lesson Plan (60 minutes)
Patterns and Pascal’s Triangle
Specific Objectives to Meet Goals:
Students will be able to make connections and recognize patterns by analyzing Pascal’s Triangle.
Students will be able to use Pascal’s Triangle to calculate powers of eleven and to solve basic
combinatorial probability problems.
Students will be able to compute with modular arithmetic and use that knowledge to find fractal
patterns in Pascal’s Triangle.
Motivational Techniques:
I will begin the lesson with a think-pair-share activity that allows the students to first explore
Pascal’s Triangle for themselves, individually experimenting with numbers and identifying
patterns. Thus, the students make their learning their own. They then continue to brainstorm
with a partner before the teams share one or two of their best findings with the class. This piques
student interest in the vast realm of possibilities hidden within Pascal’s Triangle that they will
discover throughout the lesson.
Materials Needed:
Pascal’s Triangle handouts (two per student), powers of 11/combinatorics worksheet, pencils,
four different colored markers (per student), ruler, overhead projector or document camera,
graphing calculator (preferable), supplemental materials on the Sierpinski Triangle
Procedure for the Lesson:
-Students receive handout of Pascal’s Triangle to 15 rows, identify the main pattern, and
individually look for more patterns (5 minutes)
-Patterns in sums of rows, in columns/diagonals, in rows that begin with a prime in
column 1, Fibonacci numbers, “hockey stick” (suggest any of these pattern ideas as
-Students pair up with a partner, share their findings, and continue to brainstorm (5 minutes)
-Each pair shares one or two findings; supplement student findings with other patterns, covering
the patterns listed above (10 minutes)
-Briefly explain how to use Pascal’s Triangle to find powers of eleven and to solve basic
combinatorial probability problems; students complete corresponding worksheet (15 minutes)
-Coloring Pascal’s Triangle with Modular Arithmetic Activity (25 minutes)
-Briefly explain modular arithmetic; color rows 0-3 of Pascal’s Triangle as a class using
mod-4 arithmetic

-Students color rows 4-7 of Pascal’s Triangle using mod-4 arithmetic; class discusses
existing patterns and uses findings to complete the rest of the Triangle
-Follow up by recognizing the pattern made by mod-4 as the Sierpinski Triangle; have
supplemental materials ready for students who wish to learn more
-Follow up with individuals sharing one favorite pattern/application (time permitting)
Academic Language
Pascal’s Triangle, row, column, pattern, sequence, prime, Fibonacci, powers, combination,
modular arithmetic, mod-4, Sierpinski Triangle
Assessment Methods
Use student input during pair sharing and class examples to gauge how well students are
connecting with the material; on a more individual basis, walk around the classroom as the
students complete the worksheet and the mod-4 colorings (ask and answer questions, make sure
students understand the concepts, address any issues)

Pascal’s Triangle Worksheet – Answer Key
Powers of 11 – Use Pascal’s Triangle to determine the value of the following powers of 11*:
1. 114 =

2. 11 =

3. 11 =

4. 11 =
Combinatorics – Use Pascal’s Triangle to solve the following problems*:
1. An ice cream shop has eight different sundae toppings: walnuts, cherries, jimmies, peanuts,
gummy bears, cookie dough, chocolate drizzle, and marshmallow fluff. Rebekah wants to
order all the toppings; however, Rebekah’s mother tells her she can only choose three.
How many different combinations of sundae toppings could Rebekah make?
8 choose 3  8th row, 3rd column
56 combinations
2. James really likes to visit the county fair each year. Each time he goes, he and his friends
choose six different rides to go on together. If there are ten total rides at the fair, how many
unique combinations of rides could James and his friends make?
10 choose 6  10th row, 6th column
210 combinations
3. If there are 252 combinations Kayla could make when choosing pizza toppings, how many
total pizza toppings are there? How many toppings can she choose?
Find 252 on Pascal’s Triangle
Location: 10th row, 5th column
There are 10 toppings. She can choose 5.

*Use your calculator to check your answers.