Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pascal's Pumpkins

Pascal's Pumpkins encourages students to look for patterns in Pascal's Triangle. The handout develops awareness of this important mathematical pattern through this timely seasonal activity. Students who take higher math courses will meet Pascal again in many different applications, including probability. This handout is an outgrowth of the Rutgers Universiy Discrete Math Institute.

Download Pascal's Pumpkins.  The PDF file contains the student handout and a detailed explanation of the different patterns students might find.  Be sure to make an overhead copy of the pattern so that students are easily able to point out patterns and explain the pattern that they see as they fill in the empty pumpkins.

Extend the activity by asking students to draw and label the numbers in the 7th, 8th, etc. row.  How does identifying the patterns help them complete this task more easily?

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