Watching individual students as they carry out pattern tasks is an excellent way of assessing their understanding.
Once you have assessed their understanding, the following strategies may be helpful.
- If the student is having difficulties getting started or has misunderstood the task, clarify the task.
- If the student is making errors, point these out and offer suggestions on how to approach the task differently. Sensitive questioning can indicate whether the cause of student errors is an underlying misconception or temporary carelessness.
- If the student is doing well, congratulate them or extend them with a new challenge.
It is important to be systematic and to record the observations of each student.
No teacher can observe every student every lesson. But it is valuable to observe one or two students each lesson and to observe all students in the course of a few weeks.
In this way, the teacher can build up a deeper picture of how students are developing in their knowledge of patterning.
Understanding of 'chunking'
An example of a teacher who was aware of the possibility that students knew that units of repeat needed to be the same length but not necessarily identical.