Recognizing Patterns of Object & Sorting by Attributes

Instructor: Lynne Hampson

Lynne Hampson has a Masters in Instr. Design & Bach. in Elem./Spec. Educ. She taught 8 years in Elem. Core, Science, Coding, Microsoft, Internet Safety, and Life Skills.

Recognizing patterns of objects and sorting by their attributes opens the door to real world problem solving and reasoning skills. Patterns are used in Math at all skill levels, from the very basic sorting of colors and shapes to higher level STEM related concepts.

We Live in a World of Patterns

Patterns are classified as something that repeats itself. They can be found almost anywhere, and are noticed either visually, behaviorally, naturally, or even mathematically. The concept of a pattern comes in many different forms.

Attributes are characteristics that are used to describe an object. Attributes of myself are brown hair, brown eyes, and maybe how tall I am, or the fact that I am female. You can use one or many attributes to describe to find a pattern. If you were describing a toy block, its shape and color might describe its attributes.

Here are a few examples of objects that can be sorted by using their attributes: (color, numbers, shapes, behavior, weight) These are only a few. Can you think of some patterns in your everyday life?

Color and shape are more concrete examples of pattern, which can be easily seen and manipulated. Other types of patterns, such as weather are a bit more abstract, but with pictures, weather reports, and a calendar, you could determine if there is a weekly or yearly pattern based on your findings.

Understanding More Concrete Patterns

Even without understanding the name of a color, it is easy to see that two blocks of different colors have unique attributes. Once you begin to recognize similarities and differences between objects, it is easier to sort them.

!!!Mirroring a Pattern

Now, let's build on our knowledge of sorting, and follow up with a basic activity. Pretend you have the same colored crayons or pencils as the rainbow above. If you colored the same colors on a piece of paper, you would have recreated the rainbow pattern for yourself. Every line of the rainbow has a different color that sets itself apart from the line above or below it.

You can also use this idea with patterns you find in nature. People make patterns all the time, such as when they are installing a brick walkway or hardwood flooring.

Other examples to practice this activity would be charms to put on a necklace, toys that come in multiples, breakfast cereal with different shapes or colors, or even your favorite multi colored candy coated snack.

Short Patterns vs. Infinite Patterns

!!!Color Wheel

Patterns can be short, or they may be infinite. Just think about number patterns that can go on forever, or a color wheel that has no end or beginning.

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