Fifth Grade Students’ Thinking Process with Repeating Patterns
Patterns, which are foundation of function, are the cornerstone of mathematics. There are different kinds of patterns in mathematics; pictorial/geometric patterns, number patterns, linear patterns, repeating patterns. Repeating patterns include a recognizable repeating cycle of elements. Repeating patterns assist young children to develop the process of linking various representations and to see the commonalities and differences between each. On the other hand, repeating patterns are a vehicle for working with symbols, a conceptual stepping stone to algebra and a context for generalization. For this reason, the studies on repeating patterns are very important especially for small childrens. The main purpose of this study is to determine elementary school fifth grade students’ thinking process when dealing with repeating patterns.
This study was conducted to 12 fifth grade students who have different mathematics achievement level (low, middle and high) in a average socio-economic elementary school. The data of the study was obtained from task-based interviews. All interviews were video-recorded. The collected data were analyzed through classification containing three sections, namely; data reduction, data display, drawing conclusion and verification.
According to the results of study, most students had difficulty in finding the unit of repeat in a repeating pattern. It was seen that the students who could identify the repeating unit could obtain the numerical relations between the figures in the unit of repeat, continue the pattern to the next step, and create a repeating pattern. On the other hand, the students who could not identify the repeating unit could not also identify the relation between the figures, and hence could not identify the figure in the next step. They chose the hard ways like counting separately the figures, or drawing figures. The reason for this case was that the students have not had much experiences with patterns.
Keywords: Patterns, Repeating Pattern, Elementary School Students
Dr. Dilek Tanisli
Lecturer, Faculty of Education
Dr. Aynur Ozdaş
Full Professor, Faculty of Education