Friday, June 10, 2011

Importance of teaching Patterns

During one of the many meetings we had with a potential pre-school for Saanvi, director of the school was urging Saanvi to make a PATTERN (she was trying to figure out which one of their classes does Saanvi qualify to be in). When I heard that word (Pattern) I started to think to myself "Why is she stressing on Patterns so much?". I had not been teaching Saanvi anything about patterns. In fact I didn't even know the Importance of Teaching Patterns.

I had to find out not only for Saanvi but because I wasn't taught patterns in our school and I was curious. So I researched and surveyed and read and read. The only thing people repeatedly told me was that it helped with Maths.

Whats the importance of  teaching Patterns?? How does Patterns help understanding Maths and algebra??

Then I found this:

Patterns pervade every part of our lives. This range of examples shows how we experience patterns from child's play to career choice.

  • The toddler separates red blocks from blue blocks. The separation is a pattern: the reds go here, the blues go there.
  • The kindergartner learns to count: the numbers are a pattern.
  • A first grader makes a pattern with stamps or stickers: tree, turtle, tree, turtle.
  • The fourth grader notices that multiples of five end in five or zero—another pattern.
  • Sixth graders make tessellations: patterns that cover a plane.
  • High school students learn that mathematics from algebra to calculus is all about function, which is the pattern of how one number changes into another.
  • The college chemistry major studies how symmetry in a molecule—a pattern in space—affects its infrared spectrum.
  • The stock trader looks for trends—patterns—in the stock market.
  • Designers of all kinds create beautiful and functional patterns, ranging from the pattern in fabric to the way rooms are arranged in a house to the order of images in a TV commercial.
  • And the physician does her best to decide who is well and who is ill, and recognize the patterns of health.

This is from a great website called After reading this a light bulb lit up in my head (sort of). And I began finding every possible creative way to make Saanvi understand the concept.

Here are some creative ideas.
  • Design and Drill Activity Center (my and Saanvi's favorite) She loves making different patterns on the activity board with colorful bolts and a power drill.
  • Pattern Fish & Pattern Bug (These provide a general, basic understanding of patterns and relationships while reading books, making observations and doing hands-on investigations)
  • Patterns: What Comes Next? 
  • Count on Math:Activities for small Hands and Lively Minds (an absolute must have book).
  • Sort the laundry into groups of shirts, socks, pants etc.
  • Sort all the toys in the toy box.
  • Group DVD and CD’s into two groups.
  • Sort books into groups. For example: Fairy tales and Animals
  • Clap Patterns: Slow, slow, fast, slow, slow, fast
  • Action Patterns: Hop, hop, clap, hop, hop, clap and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, hop
  • Patterns with Materials: Making a simple AB pattern using crayons, colour milk lids, plastic animals or buttons.
  • Make Fruit Loop Necklaces: Simply use Fruit Loops and string the cereal together to make a necklace. A child can make a necklace with two colours repeating creating an AB pattern or any other pattern he or she would like.
  • Bingo Dabber Patterns: Fold letter size paper in half the long way and cut. Use bingo dabbers to create patterns.
  • Paper Chains: Cut construction paper in strips. Bend paper to make a circle and glue ends together. Repeat with a different colour. Children can make different patterns for each chain.

Some great websites on Teaching Patterns:
I am sure there are lots more good resources out there. If you know some good ideas or websites or books please do share.


kavs said...

Divs ..this is such an eye opener..i didnt even know these could be the ways to teach your so amazing it

Kalpana said...

You are right about the importance of patterns...but to be honest i did not even think about it until i read about it in ur blog...Good job Divya!

Sunshine said...

Love this post..!!!! very helpful

Divya Rohatgi said...

Thank you guys... I am happy that I was helpful.. Lots more coming up I promise..

Ashwini Khadkikar said...

Great post ! very informative...will look for that drill center

Sunshine said...

wanted to share a cheaper alternative to learning patterns. I got Yash this Scholastic pattern game from SchoolBox and he loves it... here is the link

Divya Rohatgi said...

This is very appropriate and cheap too. I will definitely look it up. Thanks for sharing..