This activity allows students to see a growth pattern in different ways.
We use the number talk approach to debrief the way students are ‘seeing’ the toothpicks so others have an opportunity to see different ways of looking at the problem. This helps students realize that there are different strategies for solving problems in maths and that maths is about generalizing how we see patterns. In this problem students will have an opportunity to generalize the number of toothpicks needed to make any size square. Some may choose to take this pattern further by using toothpicks and marshmallows to consider a 3-D pattern.