Teaching with the Pattern Boards

By presenting a discrete number of cubes carefully arranged in an organized structure, the Pattern Boards invite children to discern the relationship between numbers. For example, the difference between odd and even is readily apparent. This difference is not evident to the child when he or she is presented with a random array of cubes or any other set of objects. The Pattern Boards are a concrete representation of what is commonly referred to as “the ten frame.”

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The Pattern Boards are used to teach the following concepts of numbers:

The following sketches are from Experimenting with Numbers.

Naming the Pattern Boards and Putting Them in Sequence

Children are asked to recognize whether they have the pattern board that will hold the block pattern displayed by the teacher. Through this and other activities, students generalize their understanding of quantity and sequence.

The teacher holds up a pattern of two unit blocks and asks, 'who has this pattern board? What do you think its name is? Where does it live?'

The teacher points out a pattern board showing two, and says, 'these two cubes are partners. We call this pattern even. Find another even pattern.'

Learning about Even Number Patterns

The concept of even numbers is demonstrated by placing the pattern boards in sequence from 1 to 10. The children then observe that the even patterns are built from pairs of 1-blocks which are partners.


Learning to Write the Symbol 8

In this workbook page (from Structural Arithmetic Book I) children learn to write the symbol 8 and to study the quantity for which it stands and the place it comes in the sequence of even numbers.

The workbook shows exercises in writing the number eight and recognizing it as an even pattern.

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