Casey, B., Anderson, K., & Schiro, M. (2002). Layla discovers secret patterns. Chicago, IL: The Wright Group/ McGraw-Hill.

This description of the book is excerpted from the article written by Casey, B., Kersh, J. E., & Mercer Young, J. (2004). Storytelling sagas: An effective medium for teaching early childhood mathematics. Early Childhood Research Quarterly: Special Issue on Mathematics and Science, 19, 167-172.


"Mathematics is often referred to as the “art and science of pattern,” and is the language that we use to describe and make predictions about the numerical and geometric regularities, or patterns found in our world. In Layla Discovers Secret Patterns, designed for grades K-1, the children meet Layla, a little Bedouin girl who has lost her camel, Arad. She eventually finds Arad in the desert, and as they look for the way home, they come upon a ruined palace. As they solve a series of pattern problems, the palace walls and floors come alive in beautiful colored patterns. Students are given repeated opportunities to recognize, describe, copy, extend, create, and make

predictions about repeating patterns using a variety of manipulatives. Observing multiple representations of the same pattern helps children to identify its properties. Thus, when the same pattern is represented in sounds, movements, color tiles, and letter symbols, children begin the process of understanding the algebraic concept of 'variables.' This experience builds readiness for a generalized view of mathematics and the later use of algebra."

Comments from the classroom:

"I loved this activity and so did my kids. I had them abstract the movement patterns to AAAB, AB, and AABB. This was not hard for them at all."



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