Literature Connection:

Bats on Parade by Kathy Appelt

Mathematics Strand:

Algebra and Patterns


Students will look at numbers and try to find a pattern in their relationship. Students will write an algebraic expression for the nth term.

Grade level:


Lesson Created by:

Shannon Kent, Fort Riley Middle School, Fort Riley, KS

LESSON Description


  • Book: Bats on Parade paper and pencil

1. Engage:

  1. Post on the board the numbers: 1, 4, 9, 16, ___, ___, ___, … 100.
  2. Give the students about 3-5 minutes to try to find a pattern, and to fill in the missing numbers. Tell them not to share their findings with anyone. Ask them to put into words what they think the pattern is.

2. Developing the Lesson:

  1. Read the story Bats on Parade to the entire class. As you read ask them to listen very closely to the words to see if they can find the pattern in the book. Ask them not to shout out their answers, but just keep them in mind.
  2. When you have finished reading the book, ask the students to go back to their paper and write a brief sentence or two about what the think the pattern is now that they have heard the story. Ask the students to share their responses.
  3. Once the students have had a chance to tell the pattern, (1*1, 2*2, 3*3, and so on), ask if anyone knows what these numbers are called? (SQUARE NUMBERS). Ask the students if they can think of any other ways to write the pattern, bring up writing it in exponential notation.
  4. Now ask the students to see if they can write an algebraic expression for the pattern, so that any number could be put in, this will be for the nth term.
  5. Ask the students if they see any other patterns or relationships between the numbers.

3. Closure/Discussion/Elaborate:

  1. Discuss with the students the idea of "perfect squares"; show them by doing dot patterns that these numbers will make squares. Do a couple of examples with numbers that are not perfect squares and show that they do not make a square. For example, 5 dots will not make a square. Try it with 10, and other numbers students might want to explore.
  2. You can further the discussion of these numbers by moving in to a discussion about square roots.
  3. Students can further the patterns investigation by writing their own numbers that fall into a pattern, and seeing if their partner can find it.

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