From the earliest age, young children innately look for patterns in their world. Bedtime comes after bath and a book every night. There are five school days, followed by two home days each week. The human brain is predisposed to pattern, to find similarities that bind seemingly unrelated information together in a whole. While the search for pattern underlies all of learning, it makes a particularly powerful contribution to our mathematical understanding. Virtually all mathematics is based on pattern and structure. By pattern, we mean any predictable sequence found in physical and geometric situations as well as in numbers.
© Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.
● The same pattern structure can be found in many different forms.
● Identifying the rule of a pattern brings predictability and allows one to make generalizations.
● Patterns are sequences (repeating or growing) governed by a rule; they exist both in the world and in mathematics.
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