What's My Rule?

Contributor: Sharon Hamilton. Lesson ID: 10774

A function machine can help you solve problems (Sorry, you can't buy one to do your homework!). With a video review, lots of practice on paper, and an online game, learn to find mathematical patterns!



learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


You are a mathematician, which is a fancy way of saying that you are an expert in math! Imagine you have a function machine. With this function machine, you put in a number and the machine changes the number according to the rule, and the new number comes out!

Function machines help you recognize number patterns and solve math problems.

Watch this LearnZillion video to learn more about a function machine (You may be prompted to open a free account):

Find the rule for a function machine using a vertical table | LearnZillion

As you discovered in the video, a function machine has an input and output number. You are to determine the rule by looking for patterns in the numbers.

When looking at a function machine, do not determine a rule by looking at one or two numbers. You need to gain enough information to allow you to determine the rule, so make sure you input at least three or four numbers.

Is it Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, or Division? How can you determine the operation?

  • Is the output number larger than the input number? The rule could be addition or multiplication.
  • Is the output number smaller than the input number? The rule could be subtraction or division.

Challenge question: What may be an exception to the operation rules just discussed? Discuss with your parent or teacher and be able to defend your thinking.

In the next section, you will see examples of different types of problems you may encounter with a function machine!

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