Posts Tagged ‘patterns’

Learning Through Play

It’s very exciting to see Kindergarten children constructing their own knowledge during open ended, self-guided play centers each afternoon. In our classroom, children are invited to play where their interests take them. If I am not working with a small group on a project at the large table, I try to circulate to observe the conversations and self-talk happening at various centers. The Felt Board center is a favorite of several students. In this picture, a student is re-enacting and extending a class game called “Hide Your Eyes, no Peeking,” where I line up numbers 1-12 and remove one while the students cover their eyes. When they open their eyes, they raise hands to guess which number is missing. It is interesting to see the different strategies at work–some students count up from 1 to the gap to figure out the missing number, others count backwards from 12 if it is a higher number that is missing. Some students can’t name their strategy and will say, “I just know!” which means they are using a strategy so quickly and efficiently that they answer comes to them automatically, which is the goal!

When I took this photo, K. was working very hard to place the teen numbers correctly in her number line. She asked for help and I encouraged her to look for a pattern. After a few minutes, she excitedly named the pattern herself: “there’s a one, and then a next higher number!” and then we counted the numbers together once she had them all down. This was a significant moment of knowledge building for her, and helpful for me from an assessment standpoint to see the ways she was using her knowledge of patterns (something we’ve been working hard on!).


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We’ve been talking a lot about patterns in our class lately.  Why is learning about patterns so important?  Being able to identify, extend, and create patterns sets a foundation for mathematical fluency later on.  Think about skip counting, for example.  When we can recognize patterns, it’s easy to skip count starting from anywhere on the number line.  We see patterns in music, nature, writing, and our basic day to day habits.  Patterns are all around us!

 Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom by Stuart J. Murphy is a great introduction to AB patterns.  We    read the book once, and then again while we copied the patterns in the book on our  “roads” with our “cars.”  Afterwards, we cut out some paper cars that we colored and recorded our own AB patterns.

We made a pattern ‘rule’ by coloring an AB pattern onto a picture of a bead necklace, and then used our rules to build pattern necklaces with Fruit Loops.  As you might guess, they were in our tummies by recess!

Just in time for Open House, we created some beautiful pattern snakes to hang from the ceiling.  Aren’t they pretty?

We had fun making pattern bracelets with pony beads and pipe cleaners as well.  By this activity, the children were experts at building AB patterns, and many students had time to make an extra bracelet for a friend or sibling!

We looked for patterns in stories too.  One of our favorite stories, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? is written with a pattern.  We also made up action sequences to show repeating patterns, such as snapping/clapping and stomping/wiggling.  There are lots of small manipulatives in our classroom, such as tiny plastic bears, dinosaurs, colour tiles, snap cubes, and shapes, and we had a great time sorting and patterning with these.

If you’re looking for fun pattern activities for more practice at home, try doing some of the modules from IXL math with your child.  Pattern Mania from primarygames.com is fun too!  Look around your house for objects to sort.  Do you have a large bin of crafty bits and bobs?  Help your child sort those and create variations of AB patterns.  On a walk, see if you can spot some patterns in nature (spirals on a snail shell, leaves on a fern…).  Have fun!

K. practices saying her patterns out loud.

Some very proud bracelet artists show off their patterns

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