Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Math: A Video Library, K-4

People Patterns

Video Overview

The lesson is just one of many pattern lessons taught throughout the year. Students first review the meaning of patterns. Then students are used to illustrate several different patterns and the remaining students are asked to observe and identify the patterns represented. Then the students work in groups to make their own patterns, with each group member having a specific role: illustrator, reporter, or thinker. The patterns range from simple two-element patterns to more complex six-element patterns. The groups work with paper, markers, and crayons to represent their patterns visually. After the students complete their task, each group shares its illustrations and creates the pattern using other students in the class.

Topics for Discussion

The following areas provide a focus for discussion after you view the video. You may want to customize these areas or focus on your own discussion ideas.

Designing Pattern Experiences

  1. Recall the students1 understanding of patterns. What did you find out about what students knew? Did anything surprise you? Why or why not?

  2. What other examples could you have used with the children to model people patterns at the beginning of the lesson?

  3. Describe some patterns that the students created. What learning benefits accrue for the young children as they create their own patterns rather than just describing those made by others?

  4. Many children created patterns on the basis of color and did not seem to think about how they could use the other children in the room to illustrate their patterns. What do you think about this situation?

  5. Ms. Edwards had the students illustrate their patterns on paper. Was illustrating a pattern easy or difficult for the students? Why? What is the value of having such young children represent patterns on paper? How is this assignment different for older students?

  6. Cite examples of how Ms. Edwards1s questioning techniques helped develop the students1 understanding throughout the lesson. How can questioning help teachers understand the students1 ideas?

  7. What questions do you have about patterns in mathematics as a result of watching this video? What questions were answered as a result of watching the video?

Involving the Whole Child

  1. How did the mathematical task in this lesson actively involve the whole child? Compare the benefits and drawbacks of using tasks that engage the whole child.

  2. How did using the students themselves enhance their interest in pattern recognition and creation? Why is it important to design tasks that allow children to move around as they explore mathematical ideas?

  3. The students worked in groups of three to create a pattern. How did this communication among students support learning?

  4. The teacher was interested in assessing the students1 understanding and ability as they were engaged in all aspects of the task. What did she learn about the students1 mathematical understanding and willingness to collaborate?

  5. At the lesson1s end, the students used their classmates to illustrate their patterns. What is the value of this aspect of the lesson?


More Patterns

Many materials exist for investigating patterns with young children, such as attribute blocks and pattern blocks. Work with one such material to find or develop a patterning activity. See how many different activities you can create with just one material.


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