Patterns All Around Us

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Patterns are all around us. As a teacher I find peace and wonder in the patterns I notice in nature when I am out walking. 

As a class when we continue to learn about patterns, I hope the students notice patterns of their own around them and find wonder in them too.

Room 14 has done lots of hands-on learning about patterns, where students had the opportunity to learn through doing and reflecting upon their work.

Our learning intentions around patterns were: 

  • Identify what a sequence is.

  • To continually repeat our sequence to make a pattern. 

First of all the whole class used a big book to try to work out what a pattern is and identify them. 

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Next, the students used this learning from the big book to create their own patterns through paper weaving. They used their weaving to explain to other students the patterns they had made. Students noticed horizontal and diagonal patterns in their weaving.

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The next day the class made Matariki stars to make more patterns and learn what a sequence is. After this students were able to recognise sequences in their weaving and how they make up the patterns. They also had fun coming up with their own sequences with their bodies and seeing if all the  classmates could turn them into patterns. Here are some of the stars students created.

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When asked what a sequence is, this is what some of the students had to say.

Sequence means green, black, green, black. It keeps going on and on - Dorian

‘Pink, black, pink, black. A sequence it repeated over and over again’ - Alyssa

‘My star has yellow, black, red and it keeps doing it over and over again’ - Vaanya

After these activities, it was clear that the next step for some students was to know the difference between a sequence and a pattern.

To help practise doing this by creating their own patterns. These students had to identify and explain the sequence that made up their patterns, as well as the next object that would be needed to continue their pattern. 

Classmates came along and took a piece out of their patterns to see if the owner of the pattern could identify what piece had been taken away. This activity gave the students the chance to be teachers themselves and use their patterns to test or help others understand patterns better.

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The next steps for some students are to look at patterns in different ways to extend themselves.   This group of students briefly looked at creating patterns with two or more variables in them. Avery was able to create this pattern using colours and numbers.

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The class started using patterns to introduce other maths ideas such as rotation and reflection. Hopefully the students will eventually be able to use this language to explain sequences and patterns and create their own.

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Other next steps are to recognise patterns in numbers or apply what they have learnt to  problem solving activities. My hope as a teacher is that students will retain what they have learnt about patterns and sequences through repetition and doing fun hands on learning based activities. 

The next time you and your family are out in nature, I encourage you to take the time to appreciate the patterns around you. Use this opportunity as a teachable moment with your children

Keywords: Pattern, sequence, rotation, reflection, problem solving activities, horizontal. diagonal

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