Can you really practice sorting, classifying, patterning, and sequencing with one activity?
YES, you can!
Making the domino stair-step pattern requires a child’s brain to process through many operations. The child must:
- Sort and classify the dominoes into groups—all dominoes with zero dots, all dominoes with one dot, etc.
- Form a row of dominoes with the same number of dots on one side, thus creating a pattern.
- Sequence the dominoes from the least number of dots to the greatest number of dots.
- Then repeat the process for each successive number.
These tasks are challenging for a growing and maturing brain.
For many years this was a favorite activity for my children—from the little ones just learning to make the patterns to the older ones who had advanced to practicing multiplication facts.
How to make the domino stair-step pattern
Because of the mental demands made upon the child to perform this activity, a younger child will need help as he builds mental connections and proficiency. He will require less assistance as he practices these skills.
- Sort the dominoes, finding those with zero dots.
- Place the dominoes in a column with the 0-0 domino at the top. (Using column in your instructions will help increase the child’s mathematical vocabulary.)
- Repeat the process of sorting and making columns with each group of dots—all remaining dominoes with one dot, all remaining dominoes with two dots, etc. Place each new column next to the previous one as in the image above.
- The number of dominoes in each successive column will be one fewer than the column before, thereby making a stair-step pattern.
Here is a video to help demonstrate how to make the domino stair-step pattern.
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