Littlies Patterns Seekers
Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.
Richard P. Feynman
Life is full of patterns and children seem to be hotwired with a capacity to sort, organize, match and manipulate their world. This term, Littlies children have been focusing on patterns and their influences across the school day. Whether it’s the organisation of language or number, dance or science, the morning fruit tray or a game of dodge ball, the children’s ability to understand patterns and relationships enables them to make predictions and connections. From the microscopic to the cosmic the children have been captivated by nature’s kaleidoscope. They have also discovered that the act of hunting for a pattern often reveals more than first perceived. By exploring similarities such as those between a nautilus shell and a spiral galaxy, or the branches of a tree and the network of the brain, understanding patterns helps to frame our world.
So far our pattern studies have crossed many disciplines. The children have searched for fractals in leaves, looked at the pattern structures of seedpods, classified and arranged random collections of rubbish, enlarged fingerprints and discovered metaphors in the concentric circles of their eyes. They have studied microscopic photos of snail’s teeth and compared these to the surface of a rose petal. In numeracy we have sung, clapped, jumped, danced, beaded and constructed patterns in number sequences. We have looked at particular numbers in patterns such as ‘5’ and discovered the pentagon throughout the living world. Five is a Littlies hallmark as early counting begins with fingers and toes. It found in the shapes of flowers, starfish, pomegranates and the paws and claws of reptiles and mammals.
Our Environment Days have had a patterned focus by combining a visit to TMAG to view the exhibition, kanalaritja - a glimpse into the shell stringing of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community, and local beach visits to collect shells, fossils and rocks. As the children string shells into patterns they also celebrate the creativity and resilience of the Tasmanian Aboriginal women who have passed this tradition of shell stringing from one generation to the next. Pattern seeking in Littlies has been a very beautiful, all encompassing journey so far. Pattern formation is universal and as the children are realising sometimes it takes a microscope and sometimes a telescope to hunt them down. Michelle