Literature Connections:

How Many Snails? By Robert Wells.

Mathematical strand:



Represent algebraic patterns in various ways

Grade Level:


Lesson Created by:

Debbie Sylvester and Pat Crosby, Ft. Riley Middle School, Ft. Riley, KS

Lesson Description


  1. Book: How Many Snails? by Paul Giganti, Jr. and pictures by Donald Crews
  2. Geometry template or shape stamps, art paper, notebook paper

1. Launching the lesson – read the book, discuss the patterns on each page.

2. Begin a design contest. The students are given a sample problem to solve. (A contest design was given to teams of students. For every 10 squares in the design, there must be six triangles, four hexagons, and two parallelograms. The design contained 242 pieces. How many pieces of each shape did they use in the design?)

3. Brainstorm ways to solve the problem. Solve the problem either algebraically using equations or concretely using a model. Challenge the students to create their own pattern using the given shapes and construct a problem for classmates to solve.

4. Discuss strategies used by the various groups of students to solve the problem. Relate patterning to the real world situations. (Quilt making, brick laying, etc.)

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University