Pascal’s Triangle

In the next days you will see more posts on Blaise Pascal and his work. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed doing some research on him and his work. For this post I decided to share with you some great articles about Pascal’s Triangle and how you can use it in class.

First of all, I wish I would have the time to deliver lessons just on Pascal’s Triangle and Combinatorics, but the curriculum didn’t offer me the opportunity yet and I am not sure if there is anything on Combinatorics in the Scottish curriculum, but I might be wrong. Anyway, I think this method is of great importance for anyone that studies Combinatorics (basics or higher) and that they should definitely focus on understanding this way of representing binomial coefficients. Due to this aspect of the curriculum, I presented Pascal’s Triangle more as a pattern recognition exercise. I started talking about it after I did linear patterns and explained things about the Fibonacci sequence. Then I showed them the Fibonacci sequence in Pascal’s Triangle and only after that we started searching for other patterns in the triangle. Mainly, I used this as a starter of a lesson.

Here are a couple of website that can give you some great ideas of properties and patterns that you can find in Pascal’s Triangle. All of them are great activities with kids:

  1. Patterns in Pascal’s Triangle – has some combinatorics applications and explanations in there, which I totally love but I haven’t used them with my classes yet.
  2. Pascal’s Triangle – this is something I have used a lot and I love the website in general, I think it has great resources.
  3. Youcubed: Pascal’s Triangle – I have tried some of their resources a couple of times and they worked nice. The activity they present is not extremely hard, but I like the fact that they explain everything, it looks more like a lesson plan.

Moreover, we shouldn’t forget about the videos.

  • Ted-Ed – Pascal’s triangle, which at first may just look like a neatly arranged stack of numbers, is actually a mathematical treasure trove. But what about it has so intrigued mathematicians the world over? Wajdi Mohamed Ratemi shows how Pascal’s triangle is full of patterns and secrets.
  • Numberphile – Just a few fun properties of Pascal’s Triangle – discussed by Casandra Monroe, undergraduate math major at Princeton University. Filmed during the MSRI-UP summer program.

Hope you enjoyed this short post. Let me know if you ever used Pascal’s Triangle in your class and what resources did you use. I would love to find out more about your experience. Have a great day. You can find me on Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  Twitter   and  Instagram. I will try to post there as often as possible.

Lots of love and don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Pascal’s Triangle

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  1. Wow, this is a great collection of resources! Nice variety in pages and videos for different audiences. 🙂 Thanks for putting them together and sharing them. I’m a physicist without a lot of classroom experience (yet), but Pascal’s Triangle is definitely on my list of future blog topics now. 😛

    (If you’re curious, I’ve done a few posts attempting to illustrate and explain a few mathematical concepts, like finding square roots and using an abacus and slide rule. I’d love to have a mathematician and teacher’s perspective on how I’m doing, if you ever have a few minutes to check out my blog. And I’d love to hear if you have recommendations for other really cool math stuff that can be explained at a basic level in 500-1000 words!)

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