This past week, during math centers/investigations, my students were presented with a question. “Can you make a pattern?”
They each selected a material and got busy making all sorts of different patterns.
Some students chose to document their thinking! Check out this great pattern!
(“Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin, acorn, acorn acorn, leaf, leaf. I made an AAABBBCC pattern!”)
The next day, I changed the question. I said to my students, “Yesterday, you did a great job making patterns. I wonder if patterns have to stay in a straight line. Can you make different types of patterns today?”
They eagerly got to work and came up with these ideas:
“This is a curved pattern. It kind of looks like a question mark!” (It most definitely did, I just didn’t get the whole pattern in this shot!)
“We are making ROUND patterns that go in circles. I want to make an AAB pattern!”
This group of students said, “Miss Smith, we are going to make our patterns TALL today.”
“Making patterns is fun!”
After this group created a curved pattern, they talked about other ways they could create patterns. Here they are problem solving and coming up with different ideas to try!
This was just one of their many ideas they tried!
By varying the materials and prompting my students with open ended questions, they truly explored different types of patterns in just 3 short days. They have been using this newly acquired knowledge in various ways during their exploratory play at the end of the day, too! As my friend Vickie Plant says, “Math is NOT a worksheet!” 😉 I agree!! Math is so much more fun and meaningful when students get to create and explore with materials!