Early Math—Understanding Shapes, Patterns, and Measurement

Last week we started talking about a newly-released guide from the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences entitled Teaching Math to Young Children.  Their first recommendation is to “teach number and operations using a developmental progression.”  This week, we’ll talk about the second recommendation, to “teach geometry, patterns, measurement, and data analysis using a developmental progression.”  Again, there is a focus on developmental progression, but this recommendation is stretching last week’s skills a bit. 

While children must understand numbers and operations, they also have to see how mathematical concepts exist in the world around them and how they can use those concepts to explore and explain their world. 

Early concepts include:

  • Shapes—Recognizing, naming, and comparing shapes, then combining and separating those shapes to create new shapes.
  • Patterns—Finding, identifying, extending, correcting and creating patterns.
  • Measurement—Using both standard and nonstandard units and tools for measurement.
  • Graphing—Collecting and organizing information and representing the information graphically.

For more information and suggestions on activities to teach these concepts to children, check out the guide at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practice_guides/early_math_pg_111313.pdf#page=18

Misty