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# Repeating patterns and multiplication

Exploration of repeating patterns can form an easy introduction to some of the fundamental ideas of early mathematics.

Here is a very simple repeating pattern made from coloured blocks. It is called a 'train'.

By talking about this pattern, students can come up with the following ideas.

- The number of blocks is 1, 2,
**3**; 4, 5,**6**; 7, 8,**9**; 10, 11,**12**(rhythmic counting). - The number of blocks is 3, 6, 9, 12 (skip counting).
- There are 4 lots of 3 blocks, making 12 blocks in all.
- Each unit of repeat is a quarter of the whole object.

After exploring many other similar trains, students could reach some more general ideas.

- To find the number of blocks in a train, you
**multiply**the number of blocks in the unit of repeat by the number of repetitions. - To find the number of repetitions needed to make a train of a given size, you
**divide**the total number of blocks by the number of blocks in the unit of repeat. - A number is
**even**if you can make a train with that number of blocks using a unit of repeat consisting of two blocks. If not, the number is**odd**.

Can you see any other general ideas here?