ERIC Number: EJ1020121
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Is It a Pattern?
McGarvey, Lynn M.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v19 n9 p564-571 May 2013
This article describes how in early mathematics learning, young children are often asked to recognize and describe visual patterns in their environment--perhaps on their clothing, a toy, or the carpet; around a picture frame; or in the playground equipment. Exploring patterns in the early years is seen as an important introduction to algebraic thinking as children begin to notice similarities and differences between and among patterns, create rules to describe relationships, and eventually represent those relationships using symbols. Although young children are readily able to recognize patterns in their environment, they may not be attending to features that allow them to describe the patterns they see in "mathematically useful" ways. The author concludes that curricular expectations for preschool and kindergarten children to recognize, duplicate, and extend primarily sequential patterns may indeed contribute to algebraic reasoning, but only if they learn to see the mathematical properties and describe the repeating structures in mathematically predictable ways.
Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Pattern Recognition, Mathematical Concepts, Preschool Children, Kindergarten, Mathematics Curriculum, Mathematical Logic, Algebra, Elementary School Mathematics
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nctm.org/publications/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Kindergarten; Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A