Patterns - Kindergarten Math

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Patterns or "Similarity"

What are "Patterns"? - Patterns are repeated cycles or similar relationships.  The concept that children should grasp in Kindergarten is that objects have "similarities" such as matched socks, colors, or artistic patterns (stripes, checks, etc.).

Why do Kindergartners need to understand "Patterns"? - Patterns lead to "Grouping" (the basis for Set Theory in high school or college level math).  After "Grouping" comes concepts such as inclusion and exclusion.  In other words, inclusion means "Why is something part of a group?" and exclusion means "What is something left out of a group?"  Items that can be grouped together have a definition of their example could be as simple as "Group all socks together." when you are having children sort their clothes into piles.  This is the Group's or Pattern's definition.  A common sense example of a Pattern's definition could be "Find all of the pennies." when sorting change.  This may seem more like a "group" but both patterns and groups are one and the same at the kindergarten level.  The penny is a "pattern of one" just like a dime is a "pattern of one times 10".  The meanings will begin to diverge later but for now we are just trying to get your children to recognize "like vs. dislike" or "inclusive vs. exclusive" based on a definition provided by you.

What are some simple "Pattern" learning exercises or lessons?

  1. Move all red blocks into a pile. (Inclusive, Colors, Shapes)
  2. Move all green blocks into a pile. (Inclusive, Colors, Shapes)
  3. Move all blue blocks into a pile. (Inclusive, Colors, Shapes)
    1. NOTE: If a child shows difficulty in distinguishing between red and green blocks (especially earth tone reds and greens) this may be an early indication of color blindness.
      These blocks work very well...   and have patterns to aid in counting and math signs (+ = -) later.

  4. Bring your change purse or change cup to the classroom (home schools should have a dedicated "classroom" as well).  Show the children a penny.  Have them remove all of the pennies. (Exclusive, Money)
    You can purchase play money here... its a large set and "Melissa and Doug" products have been great!!
  5. Have children sort change by size.  Pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters, etc. Have them explain why something was not included in one pile or another.  Have them explain why something was included in a pile.  Use this time to reinforce the concepts of "circles", the "names" of the money pieces, and how to recognize similarities and differences .(Size, Shape, Money, Inclusive vs. Exclusive)

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