Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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IntroductionLogic PatternsNumber PatternsWord Patterns


Patterns Across the Grades

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recognizes the importance of patterns in its publication Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (1989):

Patterns abound in our world. The mathematics curriculum should help sensitize students to the patterns they meet every day and to the mathematical descriptions or models of these patterns and relationships. (pp. 100?101)

And in its discussion draft of Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (1998), NCTM has moved further to place the Standard of Patterns, Functions, and Algebra at every grade level from preK to 12.

Patterns In Daily Life image

Patterns pervade every part of our lives. This range of examples shows how we experience patterns from child's play to career choice.

  • The toddler separates red blocks from blue blocks. The separation is a pattern: the reds go here, the blues go there.

  • The kindergartner learns to count: the numbers are a pattern.

  • A first grader makes a pattern with stamps or stickers: tree, turtle, tree, turtle.

  • The fourth grader notices that multiples of five end in five or zero—another pattern.

  • Sixth graders make tessellations: patterns that cover a plane.

  • High school students learn that mathematics from algebra to calculus is all about function, which is the pattern of how one number changes into another.

  • The college chemistry major studies how symmetry in a molecule—a pattern in space—affects its infrared spectrum.

  • The stock trader looks for trends—patterns—in the stock market.

  • Designers of all kinds create beautiful and functional patterns, ranging from the pattern in fabric to the way rooms are arranged in a house to the order of images in a TV commercial.

  • And the physician does her best to decide who is well and who is ill, and recognize the patterns of health.

using the lab text image

Through the activities in this lab you will explore three categories of patterns: logic, number, and word. For each category, an introduction outlines the rationale for teaching the topic, briefly describes two activities, explains how the activities relate to different grade levels, and connects the topic to national standards. Follow the links to the activities themselves. There you can access a background page that elaborates on the rationale, grade-level information, and connections to standards for that specific activity. Related resources are also listed to help you investigate the topic further.

Are you ready to explore patterns in mathematics?

Go to Logic Patterns, Number Patterns, or Word Patterns.


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