Monday, May 18, 2015

Creating and Seeing Simple Patterns

We often ask children to create and finish patterns, as with the cubes shown below.

The simple ABAB (red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, etc.) is easiest for children, especially if you end on the “B” part, like the blue cube and children must begin over. 
This is a simple ABAB pattern that preschoolers should learn to make and complete.
It is more difficult for children to continue the pattern if it ends on the A part (the red cube) as shown below. Often children redo the A and begin the pattern anew. This age group tends to start from the beginning. Below is a typical error made in patterning by preschoolers. 

You can see (in the break) where the child wanted to start the pattern new, from the red cube.
Saying the pattern out loud, “Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue…” often helps children find errors in finishing a pattern. Using interlocking blocks like these are helpful for making patterns.

But we can also invite children to see the patterns in nature. This develops observation skills. Encourage children to look for patterns in nature with questions like, “Do you see a pattern in the number of petals each flower has?

 Or, “Do you see a pattern in the color of the leaves?”

You can even encourage children to create and/or imitate sound patterns. They can use sticks and other items they discover on a walk to make their own patterns.

Children can create their own sound patterns. Families can play along!
Standards Alignment:
NAEYC – 2.B.04.; 2.F.08.
Head Start – IV.A.; X.D.

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