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The ability to recognize patterns can help us determine what we have seen and what will happen next. Discussing the patterns gives children the opportunity to predict what will happen next. Whether this is alternating bead colors on a string, playing different notes on a musical instrument, or watching the flash of a firefly, patterns are all around us. Patterns help us learn – like i before e except after c, learning the numbers of days in a month by using your knuckles, or memorizing the multiplication tables.
A fun way to incorporate real-life pattern observation is to watch fireflies. Now that the longer days and warmer nights of summer are here, fireflies are everywhere. You and your family can even take part in a citizen science project to count fireflies throughout North America in just ten minutes a week. The Mass Audubon Society is collecting information online about the habitat, flash patterns, and the number of fireflies throughout the country.
Counting the fireflies in this way will certainly prompt different kinds of conversations – What is a habitat? How many blinks was that? How many fireflies did you see? How high do they fly?
Whether you’re counting the fireflies for fun or for the data, be sure to take advantage of these longer days and warmer nights of summer by reading about fireflies.
Sam and the Firefly by P.D. Easton
The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle