Number Project: Prime Hex Spiral


Description: If you arrange the natural numbers in a hexagonal pattern, and colour in the prime numbers, they form a pattern where the prime numbers greater than 3 radiate from the 1 and 5 sections only. This Scratch program checks the first 390 natural numbers for primes and plots them in the hexagon (prime numbers in blue, non-prime in green).

Ideas: This is an example “number project” exploring primes and geometry. A number project is a project-based learning activity in which students explore their own questions or their own mathematical interests and produce some kind of product that expresses/communicates their learning.

Example curriculum: Ontario Grade 6 mathematics, NSN strand

A Closer Look at Curriculum Connections

In the process of creating coding projects over time, students must use very specific thinking skills and usually all of the mathematical processes are engaged:


In addition to all of the process expectations being engaged (in long-term, creative, ongoing, PBL coding projects) it is often difficult to clearly define specific mathematics expectations from the curriculum that are ‘covered’ by any coding project. Instead, it is common that many different concepts and expectations are involved in a single project. Number projects, such as this “Prime Hex Spiral” project has connects to the following concepts / expectations:

  • prime and composite numbers
  • factors
  • algebraic and algorithmic thinking
  • geometry and spatial sense
  • 2D figures
  • coordinate geometry
  • variables
  • integers
  • operational sense


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