Early Patterning Skills

Young children often engage in a variety of patterning tasks – creating, copying, or extending a predictable series of objects of numbers (e.g., circle-circle-square, circle-circle-square). In our research, we explore how patterning skills relate to other types of formal mathematics knowledge. For example, does patterning skill help support children’s ability to perform calculations or to understand key math concepts? We also investigate how the language we use to describe patterns influences children’s performance. For example, when working with young preschool children, should we label patterns using their observable characteristics (e.g., red-blue, red-blue) or in a more conventional, generic way (e.g., A-B, A-B)?