This particular Standard for Mathematical Practice promotes the ability to recognize numeric or geometric patterns. Additionally, students will successfully communicate the nature of that pattern and continue it with accuracy. Mastery of this practice allows students to see the structure of math and then generalize the terms of that structure. Additionally, patterning is key to skills including spatial awareness, sequencing, ordering, classification, and compare/contrast.
In the K-3 classroom, teachers present students with opportunities to experience and expand patterns, beginning with objects or colors and then advance toward numeric and more complex geometric patterns. A dialogue of discussion and questioning that allows students to explain their reasoning is critical. Students need the opportunity to communicate their thinking process by answering such questions as, “How do you know?” Students’ ability to understand and communicate basic pattern concepts early in their elementary experience will allow for growth in understanding more complex patterns that build their Algebraic Thinking foundation later.