Number sequences

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By John Davis

Sequences crop up throughout the Primary Maths curriculum. They make their first appearance at KS1, where children need to be able to arrange items into sequences, and then they’re back again at KS2, where children must be able to identify linear number sequences, including those involving fractions and decimals, and find the term-to-term rule. All this sounds complicated, but it’s really perfectly digestible if approached properly.

Number sequences

Our word sequence comes from the Latin word ‘sequar’, which means ‘to follow’ and that’s exactly what number sequences do, one number follows another in a set pattern.

Among the commonest number sequences are even-number sequences (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) and sequences made with odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9). These numbers are usually used to number houses in roads with dwellings on both sides.


Getting to grips with terms

Jumping Frogs

  • Each number in a sequence is called a term. For example, 5, 10, 15, 20 are terms in the 5x table.
  • Sequences can be ascending (the terms get larger) or descending (the terms get smaller).
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