Thursday, December 16, 2010

Math Topic -Patterning Part 1

Holiday time is a wonderful time to start working with kids on patterning. Since our number system is based on patterns, which can easily be seen if looking at a chart of numbers from 1 to 100, children should be able to first identify patterns in concrete things in their world. If you decorate your house for winter or put up a Christmas tree, making garland is a wonderful activity. Simple patterns would be just two colors or two symbols, such as red, white, red, white, or star, snowflake, star, snowflake. This is called an AB pattern. The idea is to see what the established pattern is and then to be able to answer the question "what comes next?"  Saying the pattern aloud while pointing to each piece often helps. Patterns can become more difficult such as using three items (or an ABC pattern)  such as red, green, white, or AABB such as snowflake, snowflake, star, star. Young children should work with no more than three items, while older children can work with more. There are many combinations that can be used such as ABBA, ABCA,  AABBCC, and so forth. After the child can say the pattern, and add on the pieces continuing the pattern, the last step would be for them to be able to create their own pattern. Children can also use beads, popcorn, or  buttons to string. Working with an adult can reinforce color patterns by arranging a string of colored lights into a color pattern. Don't forget to look at gift wrap since they always have patterns in them. Then, they can use stickers or stamps on plain craft or white drawing sheets to make their own wrapping paper.  Have fun with it. Next month I will continue the topic of patterns in other areas.

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