Dotty triangles: Two different approaches to analysing young children’s responses to a pattern replication activity

Susan Gifford, Helen Thouless

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This article presents results from an exploratory study into developing pattern awareness with children aged 3 to 5, following the work of Mulligan and Mitchelmore (2009) on Awareness of Mathematical Pattern and
Structure (AMPS). When the children copied a 6-dot triangular pattern, we
similarly found diverse responses, which we analysed using the AMPS
levels and then Biggs and Collis’ SOLO taxonomy. The latter approach
revealed that children responded to up to 5 elements in the pattern. This approach allowed us to identify positively the beginning stages of structural
understanding when children recognised 1 or 2 elements of the pattern. It also emphasised the challenge that the apparently simple task of copying an
image can present to young children.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Proceedings of the 9th British Congress on Mathematics Education
Subtitle of host publication3-6 April 2018, University of Warwick, UK
Editors Jennie Golding, Nicola Bretscher, Cosette Crisan, Eirini Geraniou, Jeremy Hodgen, Candia Morgan
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018


  • early years mathematics
  • SOLO taxonomy
  • patterns

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