Implement professional dialogue about early mathematical development through a focus on forming groups in your school or professional learning network using text-based protocols and core thinking routines for leaders.
Purpose of resource
The research snapshot and professional learning activity are part of the K-2 mathematics toolkit. This supports leaders to unpack research with teachers, that underpins the new syllabus.
This resource can be used by school leaders to support teachers with effective mathematics syllabus implementation K-2.
When and how to use
The research snapshot and the professional learning activity, ‘Unpacking the evidence base’ slideshow, complement each other and are focused on the same research article. Schools might use these:
- within whole-school professional learning sessions
- in stage meetings
- in professional learning groups.
These may take an hour to implement or can be modified as appropriate. The protocol used to help teachers unpack the evidence can be changed to suit the professional learning context.
The evidence base for this resource is:
- Mulligan J and Mitchelmore M (2009) ‘Awareness of pattern and structure in early mathematical development’, Mathematics Education Research Journal, 21(2):33–49 doi:10.1007/BF0321754
- K-2 mathematics syllabus (2021) – research base identified in the syllabus (refer to the ‘About the English and Mathematics K-2 syllabuses support document)
- High impact professional learning (HIPL).
Email questions, comments and feedback about this resource to firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line ‘Re mathematics K-2 research toolkits’.
Alignment to system priorities and/or needs – School Excellence Policy, School Excellence Procedure
Alignment to School Excellence Framework – ‘Instructional leadership’ and ‘High expectations culture’ elements in the Leading domain as well as the ‘Learning and development’ and ‘Collaborative practices and feedback’ elements of the Teaching domain.
Alignment with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – 6.2.4 and 6.3.4
Consulted with – Literacy and numeracy team and principal school leadership representatives
Reviewed by – CEYPL director and CSL director
Created/last updated – 06 July 2022
To be reviewed: December 2022
Awareness of patterns and structure in early mathematical development
Research article – Mulligan J and Mitchelmore M (2009) ‘Awareness of pattern and structure in early mathematical development’, Mathematics Education Research Journal, 21(2):33–49 doi:10.1007/BF0321754
Virtually all mathematics is based on pattern and structure (Mulligan & Mitchelmore 2009, p. 33)
Overview of research
This research outlines the value of an approach to teaching mathematics in the early years with a focus on pattern and structure. It asserts that students who recognise the structure of mathematical processes and representations acquire deep conceptual understanding (p. 33).
- a focus on patterns and structure in the early years can help students make connections across mathematical domains (p. 37)
- students’ awareness of mathematical pattern and structure can be a good indicator of their general level of mathematical achievement (p. 45)
- awareness of mathematical pattern and structure focuses on deep understanding, rather than procedural skills (p. 45).
Professional discussion and reflection prompts
- How could you teach mathematics with a greater focus on pattern and structure?
- Why would this approach to mathematical instruction be beneficial to students?
- Which mathematical substrands could not be comprehensively taught with a focus on pattern and structure?