fbpx

ECE Resources

Repeating pattern skills

Type 1: Fixing
Filling in a missing item in a pattern 

1 How to spot this skill being applied in free play

Talk

  • When doing arts and crafts, the child discusses needing one more item to fill in a gap in the pattern (e.g., ‘my pattern is missing a blue pompom in the middle’)

Behaviour

  • Adjusting a pattern by either adding in a missing pattern item or switching items around until the sequence is in the correct order.

2 Check for understanding

Ask the child to fill in the missing item in a model repeating pattern (e.g., ABAB_BAB) either from a pile of potential responses and distractors or by pointing to one of several different pictures of objects.

3 Guided activities to support this skill

  • Post pictures around the room of patterns with an item missing (e.g., in the middle) and ask children to determine what item should fill in the blank. 

Type 2: Copying
Duplicating a repeating pattern by at least one unit of repeat with the same materials 

1 How to spot this skill being applied in free play

Talk

  • Discussing making the same pattern or design as another child (e.g., ‘I’m going to draw a green and white striped shirt too’; ‘our patterns are the same, red, blue, red, blue’) 

Behaviour

  • Duplicating a repeating pattern design (e.g., drawing a zebra with black and white stripes)  

2 Check for understanding

Ask the child to make the same pattern as a model pattern using a pile of the same blocks (e.g., red, green, yellow, red, green, yellow). Make sure the copied pattern is 6 inches below the model pattern.

3 Guided activities to support this skill

Have children re-enact pattern dances they have seen demonstrated for them (either of their own creation, from the teacher, or from youtube such as GoNoodle videos

Type 3: Extending
Adding items to a repeating pattern by at least one unit of repeat

1 How to spot this skill being applied in free play

Talk

  • Saying what comes next in a pattern (e.g., ‘I need to add a red and blue block to the top of my red-blue-red-blue tower’)

Behaviour

  • Adding to an existing pattern sequence (e.g., continuing a ‘clap-clap-snap’ pattern by adding an extra ‘clap-clap-snap’, or adding to a patterned block tower).

2 Check for understanding

Have the child add at least one unit’s worth of items to a model pattern, answering the question ‘can you keep my pattern going the way I would?’ or ‘what comes next in my pattern?’ (ABCABC_ _ _). See sample script/materials.

3 Guided activities to support this skill

  • Recite the beginning of a pattern/rhyming song and ask children to keep the pattern going (finishing the repeating word, phrase, or phoneme)
  • Have children add to existing shape block patterns 

Type 4: Abstracting
Duplicating a pattern by at least one unit of repeat using different materials 

1 How to spot this skill being applied in free play

Talk

  • When copying a design (e.g., a picture of a Lego block construction) when the child does not have the same color materials, they might say ‘my red blocks are the same as the green blocks in the picture’

Behaviour

  • Recreating a design with objects differing in color, size, shape, and/or materials

2 Check for understanding

Have the child generate at least one unit’s worth of a model pattern with different materials. Make sure the abstracted pattern is 6 inches below the model pattern.

AABBAABB

CCDDCCDD

See research-based measure with material descriptions here.

3 Guided activities to support this skill

  • Have children create and present their own dance moves to create the same pattern structure as a model dance (e.g., ‘clap-clap-stomp’ for ‘banana-banana-meatball’) or visual pattern
  • Copy a model necklace pattern with different beads/materials

By Dr Erica Zippert

PREPARED FOR THE EDUCATION HUB BY

Dr Erica Zippert

Dr Erica Zippert is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Purdue University. She studies young children’s broad mathematics development and how it is supported during social and playful interactions with parents and peers in a variety of informal contexts. She also examines the roles of context (traditional activities/games as well as digital apps/eBooks, activity goals), and parent and child factors (parental beliefs, child math abilities and interests) in determining the quality of early math experiences and subsequent math learning. 

Close popup Close
Register an Account
*
*
*
*
*
*