One of our weekly openers in fundamentals of algebra is visual patterns. To help students generalize the pattern, I ask them how they counted figure 3. Then I have other students apply the same method of counting to figures 2 and 1. As I was about to do that today one student said, “I feel like such a little kid when you ask us how to count.” I offered that if they could write the equation already we could skip that step. They tried a few equations but couldn’t get it. So then one of them said, “Okay! Can we count now?” I smiled, and said “Of course!” And they quickly found an equation. I was so happy that they realized how helpful the strategy was and were willing to admit it!