ABSTRACT In the United States children receive instruction on recognizing patterns beginning most often in kindergarten and continuing on through early elementary school years. Although widely accepted and included in curricula, patterning instruction has not been based on empirical research. The current study is the first attempt to determine how the dimension, e.g. color or shape, in which a pattern is displayed impacts children’s ability to understand the pattern. This study is also an initial exploration of whether the overall “rule” of the pattern impacted a child’s ability to recognize a pattern. Five types of patterns displayed in five different dimensions were presented to 204 first grade children in a completely counterbanced order. Results indicated that the dimension in which a pattern was displayed made no difference to the children. Patterns with alternating elements were significantly easier than any others, and those with increasing numbers of elements were significantly more difficult. Implications for instruction in patterning were discussed.
Cite this paper
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