PFE Article

Grandmother Granddaughter


“Next Number Guesses”

By Vivian Owens


For “Next Number Guesses,” you enter a show and tell conversation with your young learner. As you guide the conversation, the following lesson may occur.

If you see four (4)lid-covered boxes, knowing that each has a different number of balls, go ahead and guess the number of balls in each box. Actually, you don’t have to guess, you can predict.

Box #1

Box #2

Box #3

Box #4


You would need to know the number of balls in the first box and the number of balls in the second box.
Ask, “How many?” Ask, “What is the change in the number of balls from Box 1 to Box 2?”

Once you (your young learner) see or know the change of balls from Box 1 to Box 2, you can predict the number of balls in the third box. Furthermore, once you predict the third box, you will be able to predict the number in the fourth box.

This is where grandparents come in handy with math homework, Grandparents can ask their grandchild to guess the next number in a series of numbers. Whether the child is in a third grade elementary class or an older child in an Algebra 1 class, he encounters the question of “What number is next?” or “Find the sequence of numbers, if given the following set of numbers…”

The language of math changes from one grade level to the next grade level, but the consistency of concept remains the same. When you are working with your child, you will use your own language to explain the idea. Some parents or grandparents will talk in terms of “Next Number.” Others will speak of “Patterns.” Still, others will use the term “Sequence” for older children. Use whatever language you wish in order to help the child discover the change number that is the same as he moves from Box 1 to Box 2 to Box 3 to Box 4. In the above case, the change number is 2.

From Box 1 to Box 2, two balls were added to give 4 balls. From Box 2 to Box 3, two balls were added to give 6 balls. From Box 3 to Box 4, two balls were added to give 8 balls.

Actually,handling the balls and counting will give a child a sense of discovery and understanding. This methodology leads to his ability to predict the “Next Number” regardless of the series presented to him.

Try this just for fun.

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