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ERIC Number: EJ1001829
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Growing Patterns: Seeing beyond Counting
Markworth, Kimberly A.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v19 n4 p254-262 Nov 2012
Over the past two decades, mathematical patterns have been acknowledged as important early components of children's development of algebraic reasoning (NCTM 2000). In particular, growing patterns have attracted significant attention as a context that helps students develop an understanding of functional relationships (Lee and Freiman 2006; Moss et al. 2006; Rivera and Becker 2009). Although traditional algebra curricula have been dominated by an approach that focuses on symbolic manipulation, solving equations, and simplifying expressions, many programs now use a functional approach in which the symbolic manipulations are couched in the context of functions and modeling of real-world situations (Kieran 2007). The use of growing patterns in elementary schools provides experiences with algebra in a way that supports this shift in approach. Geometric growing patterns help students develop "functional thinking"; that is, "representational thinking that focuses on the relationship between two (or more) varying quantities" (Smith 2008, p. 143). Although geometric growing patterns are often used in elementary schools, instruction is not always structured in a way that will best support students' development of functional thinking. The author recently worked with four classes of sixth graders in the implementation of six lessons with geometric growing patterns. She investigated how growing-pattern tasks might be structured and sequenced to best promote students' functional thinking. In this article, she shares three teaching suggestions for using growing patterns with students. (Contains 4 tables and 7 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 6; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A