Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Cheerios Number Patterns

Jean Mozell
Miami-Dade County Schools


This activity provides an opportunity for students to use Cheerios to describe, extend and create numerical patterns.


The student describes, extends, and creates numerical and geometric patterns through models (for example, concrete objects, drawings, simple number sequences).


-Sticky notes
- Zip Lock Sandwich Bags
-Box of Cheerios (thirty cheerios per student)
-Activity sheet to describe, extend and create numerical patterns (see attached file)
-Copy of the rubric (see attached file)
-Dry erase or chalk board
-Dry erase markers or chalk


1. Gather materials for activity
2. Make copies of the rubric and activity worksheet for students to record descriptions, practice extensions and create their patterns.
3. Make a copy of the rubric for the teacherís use.


1. Distribute a sticky note to each student. Ask students to write down their favorite cereal on the sticky note. Each student posts their sticky note on the board.

2. Discuss there are different kinds of patterns. Model a pattern on the board using five sticky notes with the cereal names. Write the first letter for each cereal name under the sticky note in the pattern. Describe the pattern. Students look at the order of the letters, how they are alike and how they are different. Ask students what sticky note is next in this pattern. Explain the order of the pattern. Students brainstorm cereal name patterns for a few minutes. Call upon several students to create a different pattern on the board with the sticky notes. Students describe the pattern.

3. Explain that today the class will use Cheerios as models to learn about number patterns. Distribute activity materials (bag of Cheerios and activity worksheets provided in associated file). Explain when the activity is finished they may eat their cheerios or return them to the bag and throw the bag away.

4. Instruct students to look at table 1 on the activity worksheet. (At this time introduce the assessment criteria for the tables. Discuss).

5. Students choose two cheerios from their bag to lay down over the cheerios in the first box. Ask students how many cheerios they need from their bag for the next box. Repeat for the third box..

6. The cheerios in the first three boxes show a pattern. Students describe the pattern. Ask students to lay down how many cheerios go in the last box to extend the pattern. Have students write the numeral inside each box of their cheerios. The numbers show a pattern. Ask students what is different about the first two numbers in the pattern. Repeat the procedure until all of the numbers are discussed. Ask students what is the rule for the pattern. Write the rule on the board (Rule: add 1 or + 1)

7. Tables two and three on the activity worksheet also show a pattern. Have them look at each table. Repeat the process. In the last table, students create their own cheerios pattern, describe and extend the pattern.

8. Encourage students to compare the data on their tables. Did they improve with describing and extending the patterns? Were they able to create, describe and extend their own pattern? Allow enough time for discussion and feedback


Use attached rubric as a formative assessment of studentís ability to complete tables, describe, extend and create numerical patterns. Students who have difficulty will need additional practice and feedback.


The following activity can be used to encourage students to create patterns that can be exchanged with a friend.
1. Students create their own number pattern. Write the rule for the pattern. Exchange their pattern with a friend. The friend extends the pattern. The pattern is returned to the student and the two friends discuss the pattern.
2. Next, students create a number pattern without writing the rule. Again the pattern is exchanged with a friend. The friend writes the rule for the pattern The pattern is returned to the student and the two friends discuss the pattern.
3. Invite several student pairs to present their patterns orally to the class.

The same rubric can be used to assess their number patterns
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