Seeing Students Improve Their Communication About Repeating Patterns

posted Nov 19, 2013, 11:27 AM by Patrick Johnson
Students have been learning to communicate about repeating patterns. Students completed 2 similar tasks about repeating patterns with the goal of improving their communication on the second task. 

The first task they were asked to make a repeating pattern involving shapes and colours and to describe it in as many ways they could think of. Most of the class described their patterns between 1 and 3 ways (see picture below).

Together we came up with the criteria of awesome for creating and describing repeating patterns based on the work from the first task. We listed all of the ways students described their patterns and incorporated it into the criteria (we co-created the criteria together).

List of ways students described their patterns based on the first task.

Students were then given a second task similar to the first (creating a repeating pattern using shapes and colours and describe it in as many ways as they could think of). They were asked to refer to the criteria of awesome when describing their patterns. The result was that every student improved their description on the second task. All students had between 3 and 5 (and more) ways of describing their pattern.

Both tasks are shown below. The second task is marked with a yellow sticky. Every student improved in the number of ways they described their pattern.