Mathematics is an art form. It is full of patterns and through the study of these patterns students at all ages discover and develop understandings of the many structures of mathematics. The following brief collection of patterns can be studied by students of all ages.
The primary mathematician counts to finish the patterns or builds the nest pattern in the sequence. The secondary mathematician who creates a model to represent the pattern in order to predict any term of the sequence. Students need opportunities to engage with and experience a variety of patterns.
One of the Habits of Mind roles is that of a pattern sniffer. (See Habits of Minds Roles Poster.) Patterns are presented in four ways. There are number patterns, dot patterns, toothpick patterns, and even letter patterns. Students can be given the patterns all at once and initially just determine the next element or the next three elements. They can then move to developing models later in the year as the related topics are addressed. For primary students, use them as they fit in with the topics being studied or use them for investigations in learning stations or centers. Students can use number charts and manipulatives as needed.
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