A long dinner


The purpose of this activity is to engage students in identifying a (simple linear) pattern and using this to solve a problem.

Achievement Objectives
NA2-6: Communicate and interpret simple additive strategies, using words, diagrams (pictures), and symbols.
NA2-8: Find rules for the next member in a sequential pattern.
Description of Mathematics

In readiness for this problem, the students should have familiarity with each of the following components of mathematics. The problem may be solved with different combinations of these components.

  • counting strategies
  • basic addition facts
  • drawing a diagram to represent a problem
  • using materials to represent a problem
  • finding a pattern
  • explaining a pattern
  • using a pattern

This activity may be carried out with guidance, or by allowing the student to follow their own method of solution. The approach should be chosen in sympathy with students’ skills and depth of understanding.


A restaurant makes a super-long table by placing 4 normal tables end to end for a big party. 

Each normal table usually seats 6 people around it.

How many people can sit down to eat at the long table?

The visual approach (show more)

  • The student is able to represent the problem in a way that leads to a solution.

The conceptual approach (show more)

  • The student is able to find a pattern and use this to solve the problem.

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