I created this as an activity for a substitute teacher to use with my 4th and 5th grade math classes. This simple exercise guides students through the process of identifying the number of squares on a 3 x 3 and then a 4 x 4 grid. Students then discover that the total number of squares is actually a sequence of perfect squares. Students are introduced to the mathematical meaning of "generalization" and asked to make a prediction based on the pattern they observed.
This is an engaging 1 day activity that does not require on prior mathematical knowledge to complete.