Patterns are all around us. There are many ways to introduce patterns to young children but key to teaching this basic maths principal is to help preschoolers firstly become aware of the patterns around them. Follow this growing recognition of patterns with opportunities for them to extend and create their own patterns and mathematical thinking using fun and engaging activities. Today I'm sharing some of our exploration of pattern in class.
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My current class loves music so we started our look at patterns by making up simple patterns to copy using our bodies - 'clap, clap, stomp', 'clap, tap our knees, clap'. Every child had a chance to show us a movement based pattern which we all had to follow. We then used their understanding of movement to show how patterns can be described and recorded in different ways. For example, if we were going to draw our 'clap, tap, clap' pattern, it might look like 'red, blue, red' or if we wrote it, it might read 'A, B, A' or '1, 2, 1'.
We played with objects found in our classroom to make our own patterns.
Some children were able to create their own simple patterns whilst other needed some help to start one before they could continue a pattern. Having some prompts available can help those children start. I made our own version of these pattern sticks from How Wee Learn. Or have some printables available for children to copy like our block play ones. Creating simple invitations to play with loose parts can also entice children to make their own patterns.
|Photo credit - How Wee Learn|
We made patterns using many different materials - paper, straws, counters, paint, stickers. These provided some great fine motor strengthening practice too.
We played pattern games. Firstly the children made a pattern and then their partner had to try and re-produce the pattern. We used some simple colourful 2D shapes for this game. The second time we played, one child built their pattern then while their partner closed their eyes, they removed several parts of their pattern and then the partner had to re-build it.
We also started to record some of our work using this simple template.
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