Study Guide

Basic Algebra - Arithmetic, Geometric, and Exponential Patterns

Arithmetic, Geometric, and Exponential Patterns

Good news: you've actually been working with algebra since you were three and began to notice patterns (red dog, blue cat, red dog, blue cat…). The patterns we're going to work with now are just a little more complex and may take more brain power. Patterns are the beginning of algebra.

There are endless types of patterns and methods for solving patterns. We've mostly been working with simple arithmetic (patterns involving adding or subtracting a number each time) or geometric patterns (ones involving multiplying or dividing by a number).

Here are three common types of patterns we've seen.

TypeExampleSolution
Arithmetic1, 3, 5, 7, 9...Add 2 each time.
99, 90, 81, 72...Subtract 9 each time
Geometric1, 2, 4, 8, 16...Multiply the previous number by 2.
1000, 100, 10, 1...Divide the previous number by 10.
Geometric - Exponential2, 4, 16, 256...Square the previous number.
1, 4, 9, 16, 25...12, 22, 32, 42, 52...

Look Out: an exponential pattern is actually a type of geometric pattern. However, to help explain things, we made them a subcategory.

Here's a video example of math in action. Just a sample of questions you might see.